Increased adipose tissue oxygen tension in obese compared with lean men is accompanied by insulin resistance, impaired adipose tissue capillarization, and inflammation

G.H. Goossens*, A. Bizzarri, N. Venteclef, Y. Essers, J.P.M. Cleutjens, E. Konings, J.W. Jocken, M. Cajlakovic, V. Ribitsch, K. Clement, E.E. Blaak

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background- Adipose tissue (AT) dysfunction in obesity contributes to chronic, low-grade inflammation that predisposes to type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. Recent in vitro studies suggest that AT hypoxia may induce inflammation. We hypothesized that adipose tissue blood flow (ATBF) regulates AT oxygen partial pressure (AT Po(2)), thereby affecting AT inflammation and insulin sensitivity. Methods and Results- We developed an optochemical measurement system for continuous monitoring of AT Po(2) using microdialysis. The effect of alterations in ATBF on AT Po(2) was investigated in lean and obese subjects with both pharmacological and physiological approaches to manipulate ATBF. Local administration of angiotensin II (vasoconstrictor) in abdominal subcutaneous AT decreased ATBF and AT Po(2), whereas infusion of isoprenaline (vasodilator) evoked opposite effects. Ingestion of a glucose drink increased ATBF and AT Po(2) in lean subjects, but these responses were blunted in obese individuals. However, AT Po(2) was higher (hyperoxia) in obese subjects despite lower ATBF, which appears to be explained by lower AT oxygen consumption. This was accompanied by insulin resistance, lower AT capillarization, lower AT expression of genes encoding proteins involved in mitochondrial biogenesis and function, and higher AT gene expression of macrophage infiltration and inflammatory markers. Conclusions- Our findings establish ATBF as an important regulator of AT Po(2). Nevertheless, obese individuals exhibit AT hyperoxia despite lower ATBF, which seems to be explained by lower AT oxygen consumption. This is accompanied by insulin resistance, impaired AT capillarization, and higher AT gene expression of inflammatory cell markers. Clinical Trial Registration- URL: Unique identifier: NTR2451.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-76
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2011


  • blood flow
  • capillaries
  • hypoxia
  • inflammation
  • obesity
  • FAT
  • MICE

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