Diverse repertoire of human adipocyte subtypes develops from transcriptionally distinct mesenchymal progenitor cells.
ABSTRACT: Single-cell sequencing technologies have revealed an unexpectedly broad repertoire of cells required to mediate complex functions in multicellular organisms. Despite the multiple roles of adipose tissue in maintaining systemic metabolic homeostasis, adipocytes are thought to be largely homogenous with only 2 major subtypes recognized in humans so far. Here we report the existence and characteristics of 4 distinct human adipocyte subtypes, and of their respective mesenchymal progenitors. The phenotypes of these distinct adipocyte subtypes are differentially associated with key adipose tissue functions, including thermogenesis, lipid storage, and adipokine secretion. The transcriptomic signature of "brite/beige" thermogenic adipocytes reveals mechanisms for iron accumulation and protection from oxidative stress, necessary for mitochondrial biogenesis and respiration upon activation. Importantly, this signature is enriched in human supraclavicular adipose tissue, confirming that these cells comprise thermogenic depots in vivo, and explain previous findings of a rate-limiting role of iron in adipose tissue browning. The mesenchymal progenitors that give rise to beige/brite adipocytes express a unique set of cytokines and transcriptional regulators involved in immune cell modulation of adipose tissue browning. Unexpectedly, we also find adipocyte subtypes specialized for high-level expression of the adipokines adiponectin or leptin, associated with distinct transcription factors previously implicated in adipocyte differentiation. The finding of a broad adipocyte repertoire derived from a distinct set of mesenchymal progenitors, and of the transcriptional regulators that can control their development, provides a framework for understanding human adipose tissue function and role in metabolic disease.
Project description:Visceral adiposity confers significant risk for developing metabolic disease in obesity whereas preferential expansion of subcutaneous white adipose tissue (WAT) appears protective. Unlike subcutaneous WAT, visceral WAT is resistant to adopting a protective thermogenic phenotype characterized by the accumulation of Ucp1+ beige/BRITE adipocytes (termed 'browning'). In this study, we investigated the physiological consequences of browning murine visceral WAT by selective genetic ablation of Zfp423, a transcriptional suppressor of the adipocyte thermogenic program. Zfp423 deletion in fetal visceral adipose precursors (Zfp423loxP/loxP; Wt1-Cre), or adult visceral white adipose precursors (PdgfrbrtTA; TRE-Cre; Zfp423loxP/loxP), results in the accumulation of beige-like thermogenic adipocytes within multiple visceral adipose depots. Thermogenic visceral WAT improves cold tolerance and prevents and reverses insulin resistance in obesity. These data indicate that beneficial visceral WAT browning can be engineered by directing visceral white adipocyte precursors to a thermogenic adipocyte fate, and suggest a novel strategy to combat insulin resistance in obesity.
Project description:Prolonged cold exposure stimulates the formation of brownlike adipocytes expressing UCP1 (uncoupling-protein-1) in subcutaneous white adipose tissue which, together with classical brown adipose tissue, contributes to maintaining body temperature in mammals through nonshivering thermogenesis. The mechanisms that regulate the formation of these cells, alternatively called beige or brite adipocytes, are incompletely understood. Here we report that mice lacking CD137, a cell surface protein used in several studies as a marker for beige adipocytes, showed elevated levels of thermogenic markers, including UCP1, increased numbers of beige adipocyte precursors, and expanded UCP1-expressing cell clusters in inguinal white adipose tissue after chronic cold exposure. CD137 knockout mice also showed enhanced cold resistance. These results indicate that CD137 functions as a negative regulator of "browning" in white adipose tissue and call into question the use of this protein as a functional marker for beige adipocytes.
Project description:Uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) is highly expressed in brown adipose tissue, where it generates heat by uncoupling electron transport from ATP production. UCP1 is also found outside classical brown adipose tissue depots, in adipocytes that are termed 'brite' (brown-in-white) or 'beige'. In humans, the presence of brite or beige (brite/beige) adipocytes is correlated with a lean, metabolically healthy phenotype, but whether a causal relationship exists is not clear. Here we report that human brite/beige adipocyte progenitors proliferate in response to pro-angiogenic factors, in association with expanding capillary networks. Adipocytes formed from these progenitors transform in response to adenylate cyclase activation from being UCP1 negative to being UCP1 positive, which is a defining feature of the beige/brite phenotype, while displaying uncoupled respiration. When implanted into normal chow-fed, or into high-fat diet (HFD)-fed, glucose-intolerant NOD-scid IL2rg(null) (NSG) mice, brite/beige adipocytes activated in vitro enhance systemic glucose tolerance. These adipocytes express neuroendocrine and secreted factors, including the pro-protein convertase PCSK1, which is strongly associated with human obesity. Pro-angiogenic conditions therefore drive the proliferation of human beige/brite adipocyte progenitors, and activated beige/brite adipocytes can affect systemic glucose homeostasis, potentially through a neuroendocrine mechanism.
Project description:When exposed to cold temperatures, mice increase their thermogenic capacity by an expansion of brown adipose tissue mass and the formation of brite/beige adipocytes in white adipose tissue depots. However, the process of the transcriptional changes underlying the conversion of a phenotypic white to brite/beige adipocytes is only poorly understood. By analyzing transcriptome profiles of inguinal adipocytes during cold exposure and in mouse models with a different propensity to form brite/beige adipocytes, we identified ESRRG and PERM1 as modulators of this process. The production of heat by mitochondrial uncoupled respiration is a key feature of brite/beige compared to white adipocytes and we show here that both candidates are involved in PGC1? transcriptional network to positively regulate mitochondrial capacity. Moreover, we show that an increased expression of ESRRG or PERM1 supports the formation of brown or brite/beige adipocytes in vitro and in vivo. These results reveal that ESRRG and PERM1 are early induced in and important regulators of brite/beige adipocyte formation.
Project description:Adipose tissue has been classified based on its morphology and function as white, brown, or beige/brite. It plays an essential role as a regulator of systemic metabolism through paracrine and endocrine signals. Recently, multiple adipocyte subtypes have been revealed using RNA sequencing technology, going beyond simply defined morphology but also by their cellular origin, adaptation to metabolic stress, and plasticity. Here, we performed an in-depth analysis of publicly available single-nuclei RNAseq from adipose tissue and utilized a workflow template to characterize adipocyte plasticity, heterogeneity, and secretome profiles. The reanalyzed dataset led to the identification of different subtypes of adipocytes including three subpopulations of thermogenic adipocytes, and provided a characterization of distinct transcriptional profiles along the adipocyte trajectory under thermogenic challenges. This study provides a useful resource for further investigations regarding mechanisms related to adipocyte plasticity and trans-differentiation.
Project description:The recruitment of brite (or beige) adipocytes has been advocated as a means to combat obesity, due to their ability to phenotypically resemble brown adipocytes (BA). Lineage studies indicate that brite adipocytes are formed by differentiation of precursor cells or by direct conversion of existing white adipocytes, depending on the adipose depot examined. We have systematically compared the gene expression profile and a functional output (oxygen consumption) in mouse adipocytes cultured from two contrasting depots, namely interscapular brown adipose tissue, and inguinal white adipose tissue (iWAT), following treatment with a known browning agent, the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR?) activator rosiglitazone. Prototypical BA readily express uncoupling protein (UCP)1, and upstream regulators including the ?3-adrenoceptor and transcription factors involved in energy homeostasis. Adipocytes from inguinal WAT display maximal UCP1 expression and mitochondrial uncoupling only when treated with a combination of the PPAR? activator rosiglitazone and a ?3-adrenoceptor agonist. In conclusion, brite adipocytes are fully activated only when a browning agent (rosiglitazone) and a thermogenic agent (?3-adrenoceptor agonist) are added in combination. The presence of rosiglitazone throughout the 7-day culture period partially masks the effects of ?3-adrenoceptor signaling in inguinal white adipocyte cultures, whereas including rosiglitazone only for the first 3?days promotes robust ?3-adrenoceptor expression and provides an improved window for detection of ?3-adrenoceptor responses.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Recent studies suggest human neck brown adipose tissue (BAT) to consist of 'brown adipocyte (BA)-like' or beige adipocytes. However, little is known about their thermogenic function. Within the beige adipocyte transcriptome, fibroblast growth factor-21 (FGF21) is a gene whose protein product acts as an adipokine, regulating cold-induced thermogenesis in animals. Here, we explored (i) the adipogenic potential, thermogenic function and FGF21 secretory capacity of beige adipocytes derived from human neck fat and (ii) the role of FGF21 in modulating adipose bioenergetics. METHODS:Progenitors isolated from human cervical fat were differentiated into adipocytes with either a BA-like or white adipocyte (WA) phenotype. FGF21 secretion was measured by enzyme-linked immuosorbent assay. Real-time PCR/western blotting was used to determine cellular mRNA/protein levels. Extracellular flux bioanalyzer was used to quantify adipocyte oxygen consumption and fatty acid oxidation. Adipocyte heat production was measured by infrared thermography. RESULTS:Under hormonal manipulation, primary human neck pre-adipocytes differentiated into adipocytes with either BA-like or WA phenotypes, on gene/protein and functional levels. BA-like cells expressed beige but not classic BA markers. During BA differentiation, FGF21 gene expression and secretion were increased, and were augmented following norepinephrine exposure (a cold mimic in vitro). Differentiated WA expressed ?-klotho, a critical co-factor mediating FGF21 action. Treatment of WA with FGF21-induced UCP1 expression and increased oxygen consumption, respiratory uncoupling, norepinephrine-mediated thermogenesis, fatty acid oxidation and heat production, thus recapitulating the association between cold-induced FGF21 secretion and cold-induced thermogenesis in vivo. CONCLUSION:Beige adipocytes are thermogenic in humans. FGF21 is a beige adipokine capable of promoting a brown fat-like thermogenic program in WAs. SIGNIFICANCE:This study provides first evidence of inducible functional thermogenic beige adipogenesis in human neck fat. FGF21 holds promise as a cold-induced beige adipokine with metabolic benefits of therapeutic relevance through browning of white adipose tissue.
Project description:Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) is an effective method of weight loss and remediation of type-2 diabetes; however, the mechanisms leading to these improvements are unclear. Additionally, adipocytes within white adipose tissue (WAT) depots can manifest characteristics of brown adipocytes. These 'BRITE/beige' adipocytes express uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) and are associated with improvements in glucose homeostasis and protection from obesity. Interestingly, atrial and B-type natriuretic peptides (NPs) promote BRITE/beige adipocyte enrichment of WAT depots, an effect known as "browning." Here, we investigate the effect of RYGB surgery on NP, NP receptors, and browning in the gonadal adipose tissues of female mice. We propose that such changes may lead to improvements in metabolic homeostasis commonly observed following RYGB.Wild type, female, C57/Bl6 mice were fed a 60% fat diet ad libitum for six months. Mice were divided into three groups: Sham operated (SO), Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), and Weight matched, sham operated (WM-SO). Mice were sacrificed six weeks following surgery and evaluated for differences in body weight, glucose homeostasis, adipocyte morphology, and adipose tissue gene expression.RYGB and calorie restriction induced similar weight loss and improved glucose metabolism without decreasing food intake. ?3-adrenergic receptor expression increased in gonadal adipose tissue, in addition to Nppb (BNP), and NP receptors, Npr1, and Npr2. The ratio of Npr1:Npr3 and Npr2:Npr3 increased in RYGB, but not WM-SO groups. Ucp1 protein and mRNA, as well as additional markers of BRITE/beige adipose tissue and lipolytic genes increased in RYGB mice to a greater extent than calorie-restricted mice.Upregulation of Nppb, Npr1, Npr2, and ?3-adrenergic receptors in gonadal adipose tissue following RYGB was associated with increased markers of browning. This browning of gonadal adipose tissue may underpin the positive effect of RYGB on metabolic parameters and may in part be mediated through upregulation of natriuretic peptides.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>Increasing adaptive thermogenesis by stimulating browning in white adipose tissue is a promising method of improving metabolic health. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying this transition remain elusive. Our study examined the molecular determinants driving the differentiation of precursor cells into thermogenic adipocytes.<h4>Methods</h4>In this study, we conducted temporal high-resolution proteomic analysis of subcutaneous white adipose tissue (scWAT) after cold exposure in mice. This was followed by loss- and gain-of-function experiments using siRNA-mediated knockdown and CRISPRa-mediated induction of gene expression, respectively, to evaluate the function of the transcriptional regulator Y box-binding protein 1 (YBX1) during adipogenesis of brown pre-adipocytes and mesenchymal stem cells. Transcriptomic analysis of mesenchymal stem cells following induction of endogenous Ybx1 expression was conducted to elucidate transcriptomic events controlled by YBX1 during adipogenesis.<h4>Results</h4>Our proteomics analysis uncovered 509 proteins differentially regulated by cold in a time-dependent manner. Overall, 44 transcriptional regulators were acutely upregulated following cold exposure, among which included the cold-shock domain containing protein YBX1, peaking after 24 h. Cold-induced upregulation of YBX1 also occurred in brown adipose tissue, but not in visceral white adipose tissue, suggesting a role of YBX1 in thermogenesis. This role was confirmed by Ybx1 knockdown in brown and brite preadipocytes, which significantly impaired their thermogenic potential. Conversely, inducing Ybx1 expression in mesenchymal stem cells during adipogenesis promoted browning concurrent with an increased expression of thermogenic markers and enhanced mitochondrial respiration. At a molecular level, our transcriptomic analysis showed that YBX1 regulates a subset of genes, including the histone H3K9 demethylase Jmjd1c, to promote thermogenic adipocyte differentiation.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Our study mapped the dynamic proteomic changes of murine scWAT during browning and identified YBX1 as a novel factor coordinating the genomic mechanisms by which preadipocytes commit to brite/beige lineage.
Project description:Inorganic nitrate was once considered an oxidation end product of nitric oxide metabolism with little biological activity. However, recent studies have demonstrated that dietary nitrate can modulate mitochondrial function in man and is effective in reversing features of the metabolic syndrome in mice. Using a combined histological, metabolomics, and transcriptional and protein analysis approach, we mechanistically defined that nitrate not only increases the expression of thermogenic genes in brown adipose tissue but also induces the expression of brown adipocyte-specific genes and proteins in white adipose tissue, substantially increasing oxygen consumption and fatty acid ?-oxidation in adipocytes. Nitrate induces these phenotypic changes through a mechanism distinct from known physiological small molecule activators of browning, the recently identified nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway. The nitrate-induced browning effect was enhanced in hypoxia, a serious comorbidity affecting white adipose tissue in obese individuals, and corrected impaired brown adipocyte-specific gene expression in white adipose tissue in a murine model of obesity. Because resulting beige/brite cells exhibit antiobesity and antidiabetic effects, nitrate may be an effective means of inducing the browning response in adipose tissue to treat the metabolic syndrome.