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Angiotensin II type 1 receptor-associated protein in immune cells: a possible key factor in the pathogenesis of visceral obesity.

BACKGROUND AND AIM: Dysregulation of angiotensin II type 1 receptor-associated protein (ATRAP) expression in cardiovascular, kidney, and adipose tissues is involved in the pathology of hypertension, cardiac hypertrophy, atherosclerosis, kidney injury, and metabolic disorders. Furthermore, ATRAP is highly expressed in bone marrow-derived immune cells; however, the functional role of immune cell ATRAP in obesity-related pathology remains unclear. Thus, we sought to identify the pathophysiological significance of immune cell ATRAP in the development of visceral obesity and obesity-related metabolic disorders using a mouse model of diet-induced obesity.

METHODS: Initially, we examined the effect of high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity on the expression of immune cell ATRAP in wild-type mice. Subsequently, we conducted bone marrow transplantation to generate two types of chimeric mice: bone marrow wild-type chimeric (BM-WT) and bone marrow ATRAP knockout chimeric (BM-KO) mice. These chimeric mice were provided an HFD to induce visceral obesity, and then the effects of immune cell ATRAP deficiency on physiological parameters and adipose tissue in the chimeric mice were investigated.

RESULTS: In wild-type mice, body weight increase by HFD was associated with increased expression of immune cell ATRAP. In the bone marrow transplantation experiments, BM-KO mice exhibited amelioration of HFD-induced weight gain and visceral fat expansion with small adipocytes compared BM-WT mice. In addition, BM-KO mice on the HFD showed significant improvements in white adipose tissue metabolism, inflammation, glucose tolerance, and insulin resistance, compared with BM-WT mice on the HFD. Detailed analysis of white adipose tissue revealed significant suppression of HFD-induced activation of transforming growth factor-beta signaling, a key contributor to visceral obesity, via amelioration of CD206+ macrophage accumulation in the adipose tissue of BM-KO mice. This finding suggests a relevant mechanism for the anti-obesity phenotype in BM-KO mice on the HFD. Finally, transcriptome analysis of monocytes indicated the possibility of genetic changes, such as the enhancement of interferon-γ response at the monocyte level, affecting macrophage differentiation in BM-KO mice.

CONCLUSION: Collectively, our results indicate that ATRAP in bone marrow-derived immune cells plays a role in the pathogenesis of visceral obesity. The regulation of ATRAP expression in immune cells may be a key factor against visceral adipose obesity with metabolic disorders.

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