The WNT Inhibitor Dickkopf 1 and Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4 Rescue Adipogenesis in Hypertrophic Obesity in Humans
- Lundberg Laboratory for Diabetes Research, Center of Excellence for Metabolic and Cardiovascular Research, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
- Corresponding author: Ulf Smith, .
Overweight characterized by inappropriate expansion of adipose cells (hypertrophic obesity) is associated with the metabolic syndrome and is caused by an inability to recruit and differentiate new precursor cells. We examined the role of bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) and WNT activation in the regulation of human adipose cell differentiation. Cluster of differentiation (CD)14+/45+ and CD31+ cells were first removed before the remaining stromal vascular cells of human subcutaneous biopsy specimens were differentiated with/without different WNT inhibitors and/or BMP4. Inhibition of WNT and induction of Dickkopf 1 (DKK1) were markers of precursor cells undergoing excellent differentiation. The addition of DKK1 inhibited WNT activation and promoted adipogenesis in cells with a low degree of differentiation. The positive effect of DKK1, inhibiting cellular WNT activation by binding to the Kremen/LDL receptor–related protein receptors, was not seen with inhibitors of secreted WNT ligands. BMP4 increased differentiation, and BMP4 in the presence of DKK1 produced an additive effect. There was an apparent cross-talk between differentiation and commitment because BMP4 expression increased in differentiating adipocytes, and the addition of the BMP4 inhibitor, Noggin, reduced precursor cell differentiation. Thus, differentiated human adipose cells can promote adipogenesis via endogenous BMP4 activation, and the impaired adipogenesis in hypertrophic obesity is mainly due to an inability to suppress canonical WNT and to induce DKK1.
This article contains Supplementary Data online at http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.2337/db11-1419/-/DC1.
- Received October 10, 2011.
- Accepted February 7, 2012.
- © 2012 by the American Diabetes Association.
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