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Insulin-induced lipoatrophy in type I diabetes. A possible tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated dedifferentiation of adipocytes.

Diabetes Care 1996 November
OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha may mediate the loss and the dedifferentiation of subcutaneous fat tissue in the insulin-induced lipoatrophies of a diabetic patient who presented extensive lesions.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: An in vitro exploration of cytokine production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from the reported case was performed and compared with the same explorations of PBMC from three nondiabetic subjects and three diabetic patients without lipoatrophic lesions. A proliferation test and an evaluation of TNF-alpha and interleukin (IL)-6 production from PBMC in presence of insulin were studied.

RESULTS: The production of TNF-alpha and IL-6 by the macrophages of the patient in presence of insulin were dramatically increased in comparison with control subjects. This process needed cooperation with other lymphoid cells and was abrogated by dexamethasone.

CONCLUSIONS: In our reported case, a local hyperproduction of TNF-alpha from macrophages that was induced by the injected insulin could explain the dedifferentiation of the adipocytes of the subcutaneous tissue and the reversion that was induced by the local injection of dexamethasone.

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