Adipocyte-derived VEGF-A plays a crucial role in angiogenesis and contributes to adipocyte function and systemic metabolism, such as insulin resistance, chronic inflammation and beigeing of subcutaneous adipose tissue. Utilizing a doxycycline (Dox)-inducible adipocyte-specific VEGF-A overexpressing mouse model, we investigated the dynamics of local VEGF-A effects on tissue beiging of adipose tissue transplants. VEGF-A overexpression in adipocytes triggers angiogenesis. We also observe a rapid appearance of beige fat cells in subcutaneous white adipose tissue (sWATs) within as early as 2 days post induction of VEGF-A. In contrast to conventional cold-induced beiging, VEGF-A - induced beiging is independent of IL-4. We subjected metabolically healthy VEGF-A overexpressing adipose tissue to autologous transplantation. Transfer of subcutaneous adipose tissues taken from VEGF-A overexpressing mice into diet-induced obese mice resulted in systemic metabolic benefits, associated with improved survival of adipocytes and a concomitant reduced inflammatory response. These effects of VEGF-A are tissue autonomous, inducing WAT beigeing and angiogenesis within the transplanted tissue. Our findings indicate that manipulation of adipocyte functions with a bona fide angiogenic factor, such as VEGF-A, significantly improves the survival and volume retention of fat grafts and can convey metabolically favorable properties on the recipient on the basis of beiging.
This article contains Supplementary Data online at http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.2337/db16-1081/-/DC1.
- Received September 3, 2016.
- Accepted February 23, 2017.
- © 2017 by the American Diabetes Association.