Beige adipocytes are special cells situated in the white adipose tissue. Beige adipocytes, lacking thermogenic cues, morphologically look quite similar to regular white adipocytes, but with a markedly different response to adrenalin. White adipocytes respond to adrenergic stimuli by enhancing lipolysis, while in beige adipocytes adrenalin induces mitochondrial biogenesis too. A key step in the differentiation and function of beige adipocytes is the deacetylation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPARγ) by SIRT1 and the consequent mitochondrial biogenesis. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an upstream activator of SIRT1, therefore we set out to investigate the role of AMPK in beige adipocyte differentiation using human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hADMSCs) from pericardial adipose tissue. hADMSCs were differentiated to white and beige adipocytes and the differentiation medium of the white adipocytes was supplemented with 100 μM [(2R,3S,4R,5R)-5-(4-Carbamoyl-5-aminoimidazol-1-yl)-3,4-dihydroxyoxolan-2-yl]methyl dihydrogen phosphate (AICAR), a known activator of AMPK. The activation of AMPK with AICAR led to the appearance of beige-like morphological properties in differentiated white adipocytes. Namely, smaller lipid droplets appeared in AICAR-treated white adipocytes in a similar fashion as in beige cells. Moreover, in AICAR-treated white adipocytes the mitochondrial network was more fused than in white adipocytes; a fused mitochondrial system was characteristic to beige adipocytes. Despite the morphological similarities between AICAR-treated white adipocytes and beige cells, functionally AICAR-treated white adipocytes were similar to white adipocytes. We were unable to detect increases in basal or cAMP-induced oxygen consumption rate (a marker of mitochondrial biogenesis) when comparing control and AICAR-treated white adipocytes. Similarly, markers of beige adipocytes such as TBX1, UCP1, CIDEA, PRDM16 and TMEM26 remained the same when comparing control and AICAR-treated white adipocytes. Our data point out that in human pericardial hADMSCs the role of AMPK activation in controlling beige differentiation is restricted to morphological features, but not to actual metabolic changes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)