Individuals who are obese are at increased risk of developing a combination of medical disorders associated with type 2 diabetes and heart disease known as the metabolic syndrome. Recent studies have suggested that adipose (fat) tissue obesity induces an inflammatory state that is crucial to the development of the metabolic syndrome.
In a new study, Satoshi Nishimura, Ichiro Manabe, and colleagues at the University of Tokyo, Japan have developed a technique based on confocal laser microscopy to visualize cellular interactions within mouse adipose tissue in vivo with high spatiotemporal resolution. Changes indicative of inflammation were observed in the adipose tissue of both mice that were obese through genetic mutations and mice that were obese as a result of being fed a high-fat diet.
In addition, endothelial cells of the adipose tissue could be seen interacting with inflammatory cells known as macrophages, indicating a central role for interplay between these two cell types in the activation of inflammation within the adipose tissue.
The authors therefore concluded that adipose tissue obesity is an inflammatory disease and suggested that this technique might allow the efficacy of potential therapeutics for the treatment of individuals with diseases stemming from adipose tissue obesity to be evaluated in vivo in mice.
Journal article: In vivo imaging in mice reveals local cell dynamics and inflammation in obese adipose tissue. Journal of Clinical Investigation. Jan. 17, 2008
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