Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 452, Issue 4, pp 418–427

Acute and prolonged effects of TNF-α on the expression and secretion of inflammation-related adipokines by human adipocytes differentiated in culture


DOI: 10.1007/s00424-006-0055-8

Cite this article as:
Wang, B. & Trayhurn, P. Pflugers Arch - Eur J Physiol (2006) 452: 418. doi:10.1007/s00424-006-0055-8


The pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-α has multiple effects on adipocyte function, including the production of adipokines. In this paper, we have examined the acute vs prolonged effects of TNF-α on the expression and secretion of key inflammation-related adipokines by human adipocytes. Adipocytes differentiated in culture were treated with TNF-α for 1–24 h, mRNA quantitated by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and secreted adipokines by ELISA. Treatment of adipocytes with TNF-α for up to 24 h had little effect on MIF, MT-2 and PAI-1 mRNA levels. TNF-α decreased adiponectin, adipsin, haptoglobin and leptin mRNA levels by 24 h, but adiponectin and haptoglobin mRNA was initially increased. In contrast, TNF-α induced rapid and substantial increases in expression of the genes encoding IL-6, MCP-1, NGF and TNF-α itself; IL-6 and TNF-α mRNA levels peaked at 2 h with 75-fold and 600-fold increases, respectively. The elevated MCP-1, NGF and VEGF mRNA levels were sustained between 4 and 24 h. The adipokine secretion pattern largely paralleled cellular mRNA levels; IL-6 (transiently), MCP-1, NGF and VEGF release were stimulated by TNF-α, with an accelerating rate of MCP-1 secretion over 24 h. TNF-α has rapid and substantial effects on the synthesis of key inflammation-related adipokines in human adipocytes, with highly gene-specific responses.


AdipokinesCytokinesHuman adipocytesInflammationTNF-α





Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1


Macrophage migration inhibitory factor




Nerve growth factor


Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1


Tumour necrosis factor-α


Vascular endothelial growth factor

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Obesity Biology Unit (Liverpool Centre for Nutritional Genomics and Liverpool Obesity Research Network), School of Clinical SciencesUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK