Adipose tissue is pivotal in the regulation of energy homeostasis through the balance of energy storage and expenditure and as an endocrine organ. An inadequate mass and/or alterations in the metabolic and endocrine functions of adipose tissue underlie the development of obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. To fully understand the metabolic and molecular mechanism(s) involved in adipose dysfunction, in vivo genetic modification of adipocytes holds great potential. Here, we demonstrate that adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors, especially serotypes 8 and 9, mediated efficient transduction of white (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT) in adult lean and obese diabetic mice. The use of short versions of the adipocyte protein 2 or uncoupling protein-1 promoters or micro-RNA target sequences enabled highly specific, long-term AAV-mediated transgene expression in white or brown adipocytes. As proof of concept, delivery of AAV vectors encoding for hexokinase or vascular endothelial growth factor to WAT or BAT resulted in increased glucose uptake or increased vessel density in targeted depots. This method of gene transfer also enabled the secretion of stable high levels of the alkaline phosphatase marker protein into the bloodstream by transduced WAT. Therefore, AAV-mediated genetic engineering of adipose tissue represents a useful tool for the study of adipose pathophysiology and, likely, for the future development of new therapeutic strategies for obesity and diabetes.
This article contains Supplementary Data online at http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.2337/db13-0311/-/DC1.
- Received February 22, 2013.
- Accepted September 6, 2013.
- © 2013 by the American Diabetes Association.
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