Obesity and weight loss result in increased adipose tissue ABCG1 expression in db/db mice

Kimberly A. Edgel, Timothy S. McMillen, Hao Wei, Nathalie Pamir, Barbara A. Houston, Mark T. Caldwell, Phuong Oanh T. Mai, John F. Oram, Chongren Tang, Renée C. Leboeuf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The prevalence of obesity has reached epidemic proportions and is associated with several co-morbid conditions including diabetes, dyslipidemia, cancer, atherosclerosis and gallstones. Obesity is associated with low systemic inflammation and an accumulation of adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs) that are thought to modulate insulin resistance. ATMs may also modulate adipocyte metabolism and take up lipids released during adipocyte lipolysis and cell death. We suggest that high levels of free cholesterol residing in adipocytes are released during these processes and contribute to ATM activation and accumulation during obesity and caloric restriction. Db/db mice were studied for extent of adipose tissue inflammation under feeding conditions of ad libitum (AL) and caloric restriction (CR). The major finding was a marked elevation in epididymal adipose ABCG1 mRNA levels with obesity and CR (6-fold and 16-fold, respectively) over that seen for lean wild-type mice. ABCG1 protein was also elevated for CR as compared to AL adipose tissue. ABCG1 is likely produced by cholesterol loaded ATMs since this gene is not highly expressed in adipocytes and ABCG1 expression is sterol mediated. Our data supports the concept that metabolic changes in adipocytes due to demand lipolysis and cell death lead to cholesterol loading of ATMs. Based on finding cholesterol-loaded peritoneal leukocytes with elevated levels of ABCG1 in CR as compared to AL mice, we suggest that pathways for cholesterol trafficking out of adipose tissue involve ATM egress as well as ABCG1 mediated cholesterol efflux. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Advances in High Density Lipoprotein Formation and Metabolism: A Tribute to John F. Oram (1945-2010).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-434
Number of pages10
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • ABCA1
  • ABCG1
  • Caloric restriction
  • Cholesterol efflux
  • Mouse
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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