Diabetes. 2011 Mar;60(3):819-26. doi: 10.2337/db10-0864. Epub 2011 Jan 31.
Increased expression of macrophage-inducible C-type lectin in adipose tissue of obese mice and humans.
OBJECTIVE: We have provided evidence that saturated fatty acids, which are released from adipocytes via macrophage-induced adipocyte lipolysis, serve as a naturally occurring ligand for the Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 complex in macrophages, thereby aggravating obesity-induced adipose tissue inflammation. The aim of this study was to identify the molecule(s) activated in adipose tissue macrophages in obesity.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We performed a cDNA microarray analysis of coculture of 3T3-L1 adipocytes and RAW264 macrophages. Cultured adipocytes and macrophages and the adipose tissue of obese mice and humans were used to examine mRNA and protein expression.
RESULTS: We found that macrophage-inducible C-type lectin (Mincle; also called Clec4e and Clecsf9), a type II transmembrane C-type lectin, is induced selectively in macrophages during the interaction between adipocytes and macrophages. Treatment with palmitate, a major saturated fatty acid released from 3T3-L1 adipocytes, induced Mincle mRNA expression in macrophages at least partly
through the TLR4/nuclear factor (NF)-κB pathway. Mincle mRNA expression was increased in parallel with macrophage markers in the adipose tissue of obese mice and humans. The obesity-induced increase in Mincle mRNA expression was markedly attenuated in C3H/HeJ mice with defective TLR4 signaling relative to control C3H/HeN mice. Notably, Mincle mRNA was expressed in bone-marrow cell (BMC)-derived proinflammatory M1 macrophages rather than in BMC-derived anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages in vitro.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that Mincle is induced in adipose tissue macrophages in obesity at least partly through the saturated fatty acid/TLR4/NF-κB pathway, thereby suggesting its pathophysiologic role in obesity-induced adipose tissue inflammation.