A self-sustained loop of inflammation-driven inhibition of beige adipogenesis in obesity

Kyoung-jin Chung, Antonios Chatzigeorgiou, Matina Economopoulou, Ruben Garcia-martin, Vasileia I Alexaki, Ioannis Mitroulis, Marina Nati, Janine Gebler, Tjalf Ziemssen, Susan E Goelz, Julia Phieler, Jong-hyung Lim, Katia P Karalis, Thalia Papayannopoulou, Matthias Blüher, George Hajishengallis, Triantafyllos Chavakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In obesity, inflammation of white adipose tissue (AT) is associated with diminished generation of beige adipocytes ('beige adipogenesis'), a thermogenic and energy-dissipating function mediated by beige adipocytes that express the uncoupling protein UCP1. Here we delineated an inflammation-driven inhibitory mechanism of beige adipogenesis in obesity that required direct adhesive interactions between macrophages and adipocytes mediated by the integrin α4 and its counter-receptor VCAM-1, respectively; expression of the latter was upregulated in obesity. This adhesive interaction reciprocally and concomitantly modulated inflammatory activation of macrophages and downregulation of UCP1 expression dependent on the kinase Erk in adipocytes. Genetic or pharmacological inactivation of the integrin α4 in mice resulted in elevated expression of UCP1 and beige adipogenesis of subcutaneous AT in obesity. Our findings, established in both mouse systems and human systems, reveal a self-sustained cycle of inflammation-driven impairment of beige adipogenesis in obesity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)654-664
JournalNature Immunology
Issue number6
Early online date17 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

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