Impact of human visceral and glutealfemoral adipose tissue transplant on glycemic control in a mouse model of diet-induced obesity

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Regional distribution of adipose tissue is an important factor in conferring cardiometabolic risk and obesity-related morbidity. We tested the hypothesis that human visceral adipose tissue (VAT) impairs glucose homeostasis, whereas subcutaneous glutealfemoral adipose tissue (GFAT) protects against the development of impaired glucose homeostasis in mice. VAT and GFAT were collected from patients undergoing bariatric surgery and grafted onto the epididymal adipose tissue of weight- and age-matched severe, combined immunodeficient mice. SHAM mice underwent surgery without transplant of tissue. Mice were fed a high-fat diet after xenograft. Energy homeostasis, glucose metabolism, and insulin sensitivity were assessed 6 wk later. Xenograft of human adipose tissues was successful, as determined by histology, immunohistochemical evaluation of collagen deposition and angiogenesis, and maintenance of lipolytic function. Adipose tissue transplant did not affect energy expenditure, food intake, whole body substrate partitioning, or plasma free fatty acid, triglyceride, and insulin levels. Fasting blood glucose was significantly reduced in GFAT and VAT compared with SHAM, whereas glucose tolerance was improved only in mice transplanted with VAT compared with SHAM mice. This improvement was not associated with differences in whole body insulin sensitivity or plasma insulin between groups. Together, these data suggest that VAT improves glycemic control and GFAT does not protect against the development of high-fat diet-induced glucose intolerance. Hence, the intrinsic properties of VAT and GFAT do not necessarily explain the postulated negative and positive effects of these adipose tissue depots on metabolic health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E519-E528
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Adipocyte
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Glutealfemoral adipose tissue
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Metabolic disease
  • Metabolism
  • Visceral adipose tissue
  • Xenograft

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