A Systems Biology Approach Identifies Inflammatory Abnormalities Between Mouse Strains Prior to Development of Metabolic Disease

  1. C. Ronald Kahn1
  1. 1Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism, Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts;
  2. 2Department of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts.
  1. Corresponding author: C. Ronald Kahn, c.ronald.kahn{at}joslin.harvard.edu.
  1. M.A.M. and M.L. contributed equally to this work.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE Type 2 diabetes and obesity are increasingly affecting human populations around the world. Our goal was to identify early molecular signatures predicting genetic risk to these metabolic diseases using two strains of mice that differ greatly in disease susceptibility.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We integrated metabolic characterization, gene expression, protein-protein interaction networks, RT-PCR, and flow cytometry analyses of adipose, skeletal muscle, and liver tissue of diabetes-prone C57BL/6NTac (B6) mice and diabetes-resistant 129S6/SvEvTac (129) mice at 6 weeks and 6 months of age.

RESULTS At 6 weeks of age, B6 mice were metabolically indistinguishable from 129 mice, however, adipose tissue showed a consistent gene expression signature that differentiated between the strains. In particular, immune system gene networks and inflammatory biomarkers were upregulated in adipose tissue of B6 mice, despite a low normal fat mass. This was accompanied by increased T-cell and macrophage infiltration. The expression of the same networks and biomarkers, particularly those related to T-cells, further increased in adipose tissue of B6 mice, but only minimally in 129 mice, in response to weight gain promoted by age or high-fat diet, further exacerbating the differences between strains.

CONCLUSIONS Insulin resistance in mice with differential susceptibility to diabetes and metabolic syndrome is preceded by differences in the inflammatory response of adipose tissue. This phenomenon may serve as an early indicator of disease and contribute to disease susceptibility and progression.

Footnotes

  • 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 March 16, 2010.
  • Accepted August 4, 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 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ for details.

| Table of Contents

This Article

  1. Diabetes vol. 59 no. 11 2960-2971
  1. Online Appendix
  2. All Versions of this Article:
    1. db10-0367v1
    2. 59/11/2960 most recent