Adipose cell size changes are associated with a drastic actin remodeling

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Adipose tissue plays a major role in regulating whole-body insulin sensitivity and energy metabolism. To accommodate surplus energy, the tissue rapidly expands by increasing adipose cell size (hypertrophy) and cell number (hyperplasia). Previous studies have shown that enlarged, hypertrophic adipocytes are less responsive to insulin, and that adipocyte size could serve as a predictor for the development of type 2 diabetes. In the present study, we demonstrate that changes in adipocyte size correlate with a drastic remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton. Expansion of primary adipocytes following 2 weeks of high-fat diet (HFD)-feeding in C57BL6/J mice was associated with a drastic increase in filamentous (F)-actin as assessed by fluorescence microscopy, increased Rho-kinase activity, and changed expression of actin-regulating proteins, favoring actin polymerization. At the same time, increased cell size was associated with impaired insulin response, while the interaction between the cytoskeletal scaffolding protein IQGAP1 and insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-1 remained intact. Reversed feeding from HFD to chow restored cell size, insulin response, expression of actin-regulatory proteins and decreased the amount of F-actin filaments. Together, we report a drastic cytoskeletal remodeling during adipocyte expansion, a process which could contribute to deteriorating adipocyte function.


External organisations
  • Maastricht University
  • Lund University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cell and Molecular Biology
Original languageEnglish
Article number12941
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch