Expression of “brown-in-white” adipocyte biomarkers shows gender differences and the influence of early dietary exposure
Induction of brown-like adipocytes (brite) in white adipose tissues may allow the conversion of lipid storage cells in fat-burning cells. Little is known concerning browning potential in males compared with females. In this study, we aimed to analyse whether gender differences were present in gene expression of “brite” markers as well as the impact of dietary manipulation at both early stages and adulthood in rats. We have determined the expression of brite markers and genes associated with lipid and energy metabolism in inguinal adipose tissue in adult male and female rats. We have analysed the impact of high-fat (HF) diet in adult life and of early leucine supplementation (2 %) during lactation. Results show that although both genders have the potential to induce brite genes in inguinal adipose tissue, males expressed higher levels (CIDEA, HOXC9 and SHOX2), which would imply a higher browning capacity in comparison with females. Minor impact of HF diet in adult life was observed in most of the genes studied. Interestingly, results showed that early Leu was able to compromise the metabolic fate of white and brite adipocytes later in adult life. Leucine supplementation programmed higher expression of cell death-inducing DFFA-like effector, accompanied with induction of sterol regulatory element binding transcription 1c factor and lower UPC2 expression, particularly in females. In addition, Leucine supplementation was associated with higher expression of leptin and PPARγ and decreased carnitine palmitoyl transferase in both genders. Although the exact role of these adaptations needs further comprehensive analysis, dietary Leu supplementation at early age programmed inguinal adipose tissue in a gender specific manner.