Pioglitazone reduces inflammatory responses of human adipocytes to factors secreted by monocytes/macrophages

Paska A. Permana, Weiyang Zhang, Martin Wabitsch, Pamela Fischer-Posovszky, William C. Duckworth, Peter D. Reaven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Infiltration of monocyte-derived macrophages into adipose tissue may contribute to tissue and systemic inflammation and insulin resistance. We hypothesized that pioglitazone (Pio) could specifically reduce the inflammatory response of adipocytes to factors released by monocytes/macrophages. We show that macrophage factors (Mφ-factors) greatly increase expression levels of proinflammatory adipokines, chemokines, and adhesion molecules in human subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue (SAT and VAT) as well as in adipocytes (up to several hundredfold of control). Compared with SAT, VAT showed enhanced basal and Mφ-factor-induced inflammatory responses. Mφ-factors also induced greater lipolysis in adipocytes, as assessed by concentrations of glycerol released from the cells (196 ± 13 vs. 56 ± 7 μM in control, P < 0.05). Pretreatment of adipose tissue or adipocytes with Pio reduced these responses to Mφ-factors (by 13-86%, P < 0.05) and prevented Mφ-factor suppression of adiponectin expression. Furthermore, Pio pretreatment of adipocytes and macrophages tended to further reduce inflammatory responses of adipocytes to Mφ-factors and monocyte adhesion to Mφ-factor-activated adipocytes. In support of these in vitro data, media conditioned by monocytes isolated from impaired glucose-tolerant subjects treated with Pio (compared with placebo) induced release of lower concentrations of proinflammatory adipokines and glycerol (100 ± 7 vs. 150 ± 15 μM, P < 0.05) from adipocytes. In summary, Pio decreases inflammatory responses in adipose tissue/cells induced by monocytes/macrophages by acting on either or both cell types. These beneficial effects of Pio may attenuate proinflammatory responses resulting from monocyte/macrophage infiltration into adipose tissue and suppress tissue inflammation resulting from the interaction between both cell types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1076-E1084
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipose
  • Cross talk
  • Inflammation
  • Subcutaneous
  • Visceral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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