Adipocytes control hematopoiesis and inflammation through CD40 signaling

Myrthe E Reiche, Kikkie Poels, Laura A Bosmans, Winnie G Vos, Claudia M Van Tiel, Marion J J Gijbels, Suzanne A B M Aarts, Myrthe Den Toom, Linda Beckers, Christian Weber, Dorothee Atzler, Patrick C N Rensen, Sander Kooijman, Esther Lutgens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The co-stimulatory CD40-CD40L dyad plays an important role in chronic inflammatory diseases associated with aging. Although CD40 is mainly expressed by immune cells, CD40 is also present on adipocytes. We aimed to delineate the role of adipocyte CD40 in the aging hematopoietic system and evaluated the effects of adipocyte CD40 deficiency on cardiometabolic diseases. Adult adipocyte CD40-deficient mice (AdiCD40KO) mice had a decrease in bone marrow hematopoietic stem cells (Lin-Sca+cKit+, LSK) and common lymphoid progenitors, which was associated with increased bone marrow adiposity and T-cell activation, along with elevated plasma corticosterone levels, a phenotype that became more pronounced with age. Atherosclerotic AdiCD40koApoE-/- (CD40AKO) mice also displayed changes in the LSK population, showing increased myeloid and lymphoid multipotent progenitors, and augmented corticosterone levels. Increased T-cell activation could be observed in bone marrow, spleen, and adipose tissue, while the numbers of B cells were decreased. Although atherosclerosis was reduced in CD40AKO mice, plaques contained more activated T cells and larger necrotic cores. Analysis of peripheral adipose tissue in a diet-induced model of obesity revealed that obese AdiCD40KO mice had increased T-cell activation in adipose tissue and lymphoid organs, but decreased weight gain and improved insulin sensitivity, along with increased fat oxidation. In conclusion, adipocyte CD40 plays an important role in maintaining immune cell homeostasis in bone marrow during aging and chronic inflammatory diseases, particularly of the lymphoid populations. Although adipocyte CD40 deficiency reduces atherosclerosis burden and ameliorates diet-induced obesity, the accompanying T-cell activation may eventually aggravate cardiometabolic diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1873-1885
Number of pages13
JournalHaematologica-the Hematology Journal
Issue number7
Early online date7 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


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