Genetic Link Between Obesity and MMP14-Dependent Adipogenic Collagen Turnover

  1. Stephen J. Weiss6,7
  1. 1Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes, the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan;
  2. 2Frontier Research Initiative, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan;
  3. 3Department of Bioscience, National Cardiovascular Center Research Institute, Suita, Japan;
  4. 4Department of Atherosclerosis and Diabetes, National Cardiovascular Center, Suita, Japan;
  5. 5Department of Preventive Cardiology, National Cardiovascular Center, Osaka, Japan;
  6. 6Division of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan;
  7. 7Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  1. Corresponding author: Tae-Hwa Chun, taehwa{at}


OBJECTIVE In white adipose tissue, adipocytes and adipocyte precursor cells are enmeshed in a dense network of type I collagen fibrils. The fate of this pericellular collagenous web in diet-induced obesity, however, is unknown. This study seeks to identify the genetic underpinnings of proteolytic collagen turnover and their association with obesity progression in mice and humans.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS The hydrolysis and degradation of type I collagen at early stages of high-fat diet feeding was assessed in wild-type or MMP14 (MT1-MMP)-haploinsufficient mice using immunofluorescent staining and scanning electron microscopy. The impact of MMP14-dependent collagenolysis on adipose tissue function was interrogated by transcriptome profiling with cDNA microarrays. Genetic associations between MMP14 gene common variants and obesity or diabetes traits were examined in a Japanese cohort (n = 3,653).

RESULTS In adult mice, type I collagen fibers were cleaved rapidly in situ during a high-fat diet challenge. By contrast, in MMP14 haploinsufficient mice, animals placed on a high-fat diet were unable to remodel fat pad collagen architecture and display blunted weight gain. Moreover, transcriptional programs linking type I collagen turnover with adipogenesis or lipogenesis were disrupted by the associated decrease in collagen turnover. Consistent with a key role played by MMP14 in regulating high-fat diet–induced metabolic programs, human MMP14 gene polymorphisms located in proximity to the enzyme's catalytic domain were closely associated with human obesity and diabetes traits.

CONCLUSIONS Together, these findings demonstrate that the MMP14 gene, encoding the dominant pericellular collagenase operative in vivo, directs obesogenic collagen turnover and is linked to human obesity traits.


  • The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

  • Received January 10, 2010.
  • Accepted July 8, 2010.

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. See for details.

| Table of Contents

This Article

  1. Diabetes vol. 59 no. 10 2484-2494
  1. Online Appendix
  2. All Versions of this Article:
    1. db10-0073v1
    2. db10-0073v2
    3. 59/10/2484 most recent