Kerstin Wåhlén

Karolinska University Hospital, Tukholma, Stockholm, Sweden

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Publications (12)62.47 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Obesity is characterized by a low-grade inflammation in white adipose tissue (WAT), which promotes insulin resistance. Low serum levels of 1α,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol (DHCC) associate with insulin resistance and higher body mass index although it is unclear whether vitamin D supplementation improves insulin sensitivity. We investigated the effects of DHCC on adipokine gene expression and secretion in adipocytes focusing on two key factors with pro-inflammatory [monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1/CCL2)] and anti-inflammatory [adiponectin (ADIPOQ)] effects. Pre-adipocytes were isolated from human subcutaneous WAT and cultured until full differentiation. Differentiated adipocytes were either pre-treated with DHCC (10(-7) M) and subsequently incubated with tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα, 100 ng/mL) or concomitantly incubated with TNFα/DHCC. MCP1 and adiponectin mRNA expression was measured by RT-PCR and protein release by ELISA. DHCC was not toxic and did not affect adipocyte morphology or the mRNA levels of adipocyte-specific genes. TNFα induced a significant increase in CCL2 mRNA and protein secretion, while DHCC alone reduced CCL2 mRNA expression (~25%, p < 0.05). DHCC attenuated TNFα-induced CCL2 mRNA expression in both pre-incubation (~15%, p < 0.05) and concomitant (~60%, p < 0.01) treatments. TNFα reduced ADIPOQ mRNA (~80%) and secretion (~35%). DHCC alone decreased adiponectin secretion to a similar degree (~35%, p < 0.05). Concomitant treatment with DHCC/TNFα for 48 h had an additive effect, resulting in a pronounced reduction in adiponectin secretion (~70%). DHCC attenuates MCP-1 and adiponectin production in human adipocytes, thereby reducing the expression of both pro- and anti-inflammatory factors. These effects may explain the difficulties so far in determining the role of DHCC in insulin sensitivity and obesity in humans.
    European Journal of Nutrition 06/2011; 51(3):335-42. · 3.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) expressed by adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs) induces mice obesity and human adipocyte differentiation in vitro. This study aimed to investigate whether TRAP was secreted differently from human obese versus lean adipose tissues and to identify the cellular source of adipose tissue TRAP. Subcutaneous adipose tissues obtained from healthy subjects. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) for total (5a+5b) and cleaved TRAP (5b) were used. TRAP secretion was determined in adipose tissue biopsies, and mRNA expression was studied in cell types isolated from the same. Results of 24 lean and 24 obese women (in vitro) and 8 subjects (in vivo) were compared. The main outcome measurements were TRAP expression and secretion in vitro and in vivo. In-house total TRAP ELISA showed high sensitivity and a coefficient of variance of 11%. Adipose secretion of total TRAP was linear in vitro with time and was evident in vivo. Total TRAP secretion in vitro was similar in lean and obese women expressed per unit weight of the adipose tissue but correlated positively with the number/size of adipocytes (P ≤ 0.01) and with adipose secretion of tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6 (P<0.01). TRAP 5b was not secreted from the adipose tissue. ATMs displayed highest cellular expression of TRAP mRNA in adipose tissue cells derived from lean or obese women. TRAP is a novel human adipokine produced by macrophages and secreted from the subcutaneous adipose tissue in vivo and in vitro. Secretion is linked to the size and number of adipocytes, as well as to concomitant secretion of inflammatory mediators, suggesting that TRAP is involved in fat accumulation and adipose inflammation.
    International journal of obesity (2005) 03/2011; 35(12):1502-10. · 5.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Liver X receptors (LXRs) are nuclear receptors with established roles in cholesterol, lipid, and carbohydrate metabolism, although their function in adipocytes is not well characterized. Increased adipose tissue mass in obesity is associated with increased adipocyte lipolysis. Fatty acids (FA) generated by lipolysis can be oxidized by mitochondrial beta-oxidation, reesterified, or released from the adipocyte. The latter results in higher circulating levels of free FAs, in turn causing obesity-related metabolic complications. However, mitochondrial beta-oxidation can at least in part counteract an increased output of FA into circulation. In this study, we provide evidence that activation of LXRs up-regulates mitochondrial beta-oxidation in both human and murine white adipocytes. We also show that the expression of a kinase regulating the cellular fuel switch, pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4), is up-regulated by the LXR agonist GW3965 in both in vitro differentiated human primary adipocytes and differentiated murine 3T3-L1 cells. Moreover, activation of LXR causes PDK4-dependent phosphorylation of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, thereby decreasing its activity and attenuating glucose oxidation. The specificity of the GW3965 effect on oxidation was confirmed by RNA interference targeting LXRs. We propose that LXR has an important role in the regulation of substrate oxidation and the switch between lipids and carbohydrates as cellular fuel in both human and murine white adipocytes.
    Endocrinology 07/2009; 150(9):4104-13. · 4.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Follistatin is a glycoprotein that binds and neutralizes biological activities of TGFbeta superfamily members including activin and myostatin. We previously identified by expression profiling that follistatin levels in white adipose tissue (WAT) were regulated by obesity. The objective of the study was to elucidate the role of follistatin in human WAT and obesity. We measured secreted follistatin protein from WAT biopsies and fat cells in vitro. We also quantified follistatin mRNA expression in sc and visceral WAT and in WAT-fractionated cells and related it to obesity status, body region, and cellular origin. We investigated the effects of follistatin on adipocyte differentiation of progenitor cells in vitro. Women (n = 66) with a wide variation in body mass index were recruited by advertisement and from a clinic for weight-reduction therapy. WAT secreted follistatin in vitro. Follistatin mRNA levels in sc but not visceral WAT were decreased in obesity and restored to nonobese levels after weight reduction. Follistatin mRNA levels were high in the stroma-vascular fraction of WAT and low in adipocytes. Recombinant follistatin treatment promoted adipogenic differentiation of progenitor cells and neutralized the inhibitory action of myostatin on differentiation in vitro. Moreover, activin and myostatin signaling receptors were detected in WAT and adipocytes. Follistatin is a new adipokine important for adipogenesis. Down-regulated WAT expression of follistatin in obesity may counteract adiposity but could, by inhibiting adipogenesis, contribute to hypertrophic obesity (large fat cells) and insulin resistance.
    The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism 06/2009; 94(8):3003-9. · 6.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Catecholamine-induced lipolysis is elevated in omental as compared to subcutaneous adipocytes due to primary differences between the two cell types (i.e., they have different progenitor cells). Whether there is regional variation in atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP)-induced lipolysis is unknown. We studied whether beta-adrenoceptor signaling to lipolysis and ANP-induced lipolysis are involved in the primary differences in lipolysis. In vitro experiments on differentiated preadipocytes from human subcutaneous and omental adipose tissue were performed. The cells were kept in culture for a relative long duration, so any influence of local environment and circulation in the various adipose tissue depots could be excluded. Using beta1-, beta2-, and beta3-adenoceptor agonists, lipolysis was found to be significantly higher in omental as compared to subcutaneous differentiated preadipocytes. Forskolin and dibutyryl cAMP, which act at post-adrenoceptor levels, did not show any regional difference. There was no regional difference in ANP-induced lipolysis. Gene expression of beta1- and beta3-adrenoceptors was higher and beta2-adrenoceptor expression was lower in the omental cells. Omental fat cells have an increased beta-adrenoceptor-mediated lipolysis principally due to primary differences in the early event that couples beta-adrenoceptor subtypes to G-proteins. ANP-induced lipolysis is not subject to primary regional variation.
    Hormone and Metabolic Research 03/2009; 41(5):350-5. · 2.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Levels of the vascular peptide endothelin-1 (ET-1) are significantly elevated in obesity. Adipose tissue-derived ET-1 attenuates insulin-mediated antilipolysis in human visceral adipocytes through the activation of the ET receptor B (ET(B)R), thereby linking ET-1 to insulin resistance. Whether ET-1 has direct effects on lipolysis in human adipocytes is not known. Endothelin-1 receptor (ETR) mRNA expression was determined by quantitative PCR in 130 non-obese and obese subjects. ET-1 mRNA in different adipose tissue regions was also assessed. ETR protein expression was analyzed by western blotting in 37 subjects. The effect of ET-1 on lipolysis was assessed in freshly isolated adipocytes and in vitro differentiated adipocytes from human donors. Freshly isolated human adipocytes incubated with different concentrations of ET-1 showed no acute effect on lipolysis. In contrast, a 24 h incubation in primary cultures of human adipocytes resulted in a significant 50% increase in lipolysis. This effect was concentration dependent and could be mimicked by an agonist of the ET(A) receptor but not with a selective ET(B)R agonist. Adipocyte differentiation was not affected by any of the agonists. In subcutaneous (s.c.) adipose tissue from 19 non-obese and 18 obese subjects, the protein expression of ET(A)R was significantly higher in obese subjects whereas there was no difference in ET(B)R expression. Interestingly, the differences in protein expression were not observed at the mRNA level as ET(A)R expression was similar between lean and obese subjects. Long-term but not acute incubation of human adipocytes with ET-1 results in a significant increase in lipolysis. This appears to be mediated through the activation of ET(A)R, demonstrating a yet another receptor-specific effect of ET-1. In addition, the protein expression of ET(A)R is increased in s.c. adipose tissue in obesity, possibly through post-transcriptional mechanisms. An increased effect of ET-1 could be a mechanism that contributes to increased basal lipolysis in human obesity.
    International journal of obesity (2005) 12/2008; 33(1):67-74. · 5.22 Impact Factor
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    Kerstin Wåhlén, Eva Sjölin, Johan Hoffstedt
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the rs9939609 single nucleotide polymorphism of the FTO gene in relation to fat cell function and adipose tissue gene expression in 306 healthy women with a wide range in body mass index (18-53 kg/m(2)). Subcutaneous adipose tissue biopsies were taken for fat cell metabolism studies and in a subgroup (n = 90) for gene expression analyses. In homozygous carriers of the T-allele, the in vitro basal (spontaneous) adipocyte glycerol release was increased by 22% (P = 0.007) and the in vivo plasma glycerol level was increased by approximately 30% (P = 0.037) compared with carriers of the A allele. In contrast, there were no genotype effects on catecholamine-stimulated lipolysis or basal or insulin-induced lipogenesis. We found no difference between genotypes for adipose tissue mRNA levels of FTO, hormone-sensitive lipase, adipose triglyceride lipase, perilipin, or CGI-58. Finally, the adipose tissue level of FTO mRNA was increased in obesity (P = 0.002), was similar in subcutaneous and omental adipose tissue, was higher in fat cells than in fat tissue (P = 0.0007), and was induced at an early stage in the differentiation process (P = 0.004). These data suggest a role of the FTO gene in fat cell lipolysis, which may be important in explaining why the gene is implicated in body weight regulation.
    The Journal of Lipid Research 04/2008; 49(3):607-11. · 4.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Visceral obesity increases risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. This may partly be due to a region-specific resistance to insulin's antilipolytic effect in visceral adipocytes. We investigated whether adipose tissue releases the vascular peptide endothelin-1 (ET-1) and whether ET-1 could account for regional differences in lipolysis. One group consisted of eleven obese and eleven nonobese subjects in whom ET-1 levels were compared between abdominal subcutaneous and arterialized blood samples. A second group included subjects undergoing anti-obesity surgery. Abdominal subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissues were obtained to study the effect of ET-1 on differentiated adipocytes regarding lipolysis and gene and protein expression. Adipose tissue had a marked net release of ET-1 in vivo, which was 2.5-fold increased in obesity. In adipocytes treated with ET-1, the antilipolytic effect of insulin was attenuated in visceral but not in subcutaneous adipocytes, which could not be explained by effects of ET-1 on adipocyte differentiation. ET-1 decreased the expression of insulin receptor, insulin receptor substrate-1 and phosphodiesterase-3B and increased the expression of endothelin receptor-B (ET(B)R) in visceral but not in subcutaneous adipocytes. These effects were mediated via ET(B)R with signals through protein kinase C and calmodulin pathways. The effect of ET-1 could be mimicked by knockdown of IRS-1. ET-1 is released from human adipose tissue and links fat accumulation to insulin resistance. It selectively counteracts insulin inhibition of visceral adipocyte lipolysis via ET(B)R signaling pathways, which affect multiple steps in insulin signaling.
    Diabetes 03/2008; 57(2):378-86. · 7.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate the treatment effects of testosterone and estrogen on the expression of proteins and genes involved in adipocyte signal transduction to lipolysis in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue of postmenopausal women. An open, randomized clinical study with parallel group comparison. Women's health clinical research unit and a research laboratory at a university hospital. Thirty-six healthy naturally postmenopausal women. The participants were randomly given testosterone undecanoate (40 mg every second day) or estradiol valerate (2 mg daily) for 3 months. Expression of proteins and genes involved in adipocyte signal transduction to lipolysis in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue, determined by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blot, respectively, and related to plasma glycerol before or during a euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp. Testosterone treatment decreased the expression of hormone-sensitive lipase and increased the expression of phosphodiesterase-3B, whereas no effect of estrogen was observed. Testosterone-induced changes in hormone-sensitive lipase expression correlated positively with corresponding changes in basal or clamp-induced plasma glycerol concentrations. Treatment with testosterone in postmenopausal women down-regulates hormone-sensitive lipase and up-regulates phosphodiesterase-3B expressions in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue in relation to changes in vivo of lipolytic activity, which may promote the accumulation of fat.
    Fertility and sterility 08/2007; 88(1):100-6. · 3.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The cannabinoid receptor 1 gene (CNR1) is implicated in adipocyte function. We investigated human adipose tissue CNR1 mRNA in relation to obesity, clinical and metabolic variables, adipocyte function, and adiponectin (ADIPOQ) levels. We assessed sc fat biopsies from 96 obese and nonobese subjects and omental fat biopsies from 82 obese and nonobese subjects. The sc and omental adipose CNR1 gene expression were similar in obese and nonobese subjects. No association between either sc or omental adipose CNR1 mRNA levels and body mass index, waist circumference, plasma levels of glucose and insulin, lipids, or blood pressure was found. The sc and omental maximal adrenergic lipolytic activation as well as lipolytic adrenoceptor sensitivity were not related to CNR1 gene expression. Lipogenesis in sc adipocytes also showed no association with CNR1 mRNA levels. Finally, no relation was found between adipose CNR1 gene expression and ADIPOQ mRNA, adipose tissue adiponectin secretion, or circulating adiponectin. We found no association of human adipose tissue CNR1 mRNA expression with measures of body fat, metabolic parameters, fat cell function, or ADIPOQ expression. These data do not suggest a major role of human adipose CNR1 in fat cell function or metabolic disease development.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 05/2007; 92(4):1555-9. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Low-grade inflammation in adipose tissue may contribute to insulin resistance in obesity. However, the roles of individual inflammatory mediators in adipose tissue are poorly understood. The objective of this study was to determine which inflammation markers are most overexpressed at the gene level in adipose tissue in human obesity and how this relates to corresponding protein secretion. We examined gene expression profiles in 17 lean and 20 obese subjects. The secretory pattern of relevant corresponding proteins was examined in human s.c. adipose tissue or isolated fat cells in vitro and in vivo in several obese or lean cohorts. In ranking gene expression, defined pathways associated with obesity and immune and defense responses scored high. Among seven markedly overexpressed chemokines, only monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP1) was released from adipose tissue and isolated fat cells in vitro. In obesity, the secretion and expression of MCP1 in adipose tissue pieces were more than 6- and 2-fold increased, respectively, but there was no change in circulating MCP1 levels. There was no net release of MCP1, but there was a net release of leptin, in vivo from adipose tissue into the circulation. Obesity is associated with the increased expression of several chemokine genes in adipose tissue. However, only MCP1 is secreted into the extracellular space, where it primarily acts as a local factor, because little or no spillover into the circulation occurs. MCP1 influences the function of adipocytes, is a recruitment factor for macrophages, and may be a crucial link among chemokines between adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 11/2005; 90(10):5834-40. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The role of adiponectin production for the circulating protein concentration in human obesity and insulin resistance is unclear. We measured serum concentration and sc adipose tissue secretion rate of adiponectin in 77 obese and 23 nonobese women with a varying degree of insulin sensitivity. The serum adiponectin concentration was similar in both groups. In obesity, adiponectin adipose tissue secretion rate per weight unit was reduced by 30% (P = 0.01), whereas total body fat secretion rate was increased by 100% (P < 0.0001). In the group being most insulin resistant (1/3), serum concentration (P < 0.001) and adipose tissue secretion rate per tissue weight (P < 0.05) were reduced, whereas total body fat secretion rate was increased (P < 0.01), by about 30%. The adipose tissue secretion rate of adiponectin was related to the serum concentration (P = 0.005) but explained only about 10% of the interindividual variation in circulating adiponectin and insulin sensitivity. The plasma adiponectin half life was long, 2.5 h. In conclusion, the role of protein secretion for the circulating concentration of adiponectin and insulin sensitivity under these conditions is minor because adiponectin turnover rate is slow. Although increased in obesity and insulin resistance, total body production of adiponectin is insufficient to raise the circulating concentration, may be due to reduced secretion rate per tissue unit.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 04/2004; 89(3):1391-6. · 6.43 Impact Factor