, Volume 267, Issue 1-2, pp 157-166

Regional differences in oxidative capacity of rat white adipose tissue are linked to the mitochondrial content of mature adipocytes

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Two metabolic pathways of the white adipocytes (i.e. de novo lipogenesis and lipolysis) require mitochondria functionality. In this report, the oxidative capacity of two white adipose tissues of rat and their respective isolated adipocytes were evaluated. Two major white fat pads, namely inguinal and epididymal tissues, were chosen as subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissues, respectively. The mitochondrial content of these tissues was estimated using cytological and biochemical analysis. Electron microscopy analysis showed higher mitochondrial density in epididymal than in inguinal adipocytes. The mitochondrial DNA content and mitochondrial enzymatic equipment were also higher in the former than in the latter tissue. A positive correlation between two mitochondrial enzymatic activities, namely cytochrome c oxidase and citrate synthase, and the mtDNA content of adipose tissue was reported. Moreover, NRF1 protein, which belongs to the transcriptional activator family and is thought to be involved in mitochondrial biogenesis regulation, was present in higher proportions in nuclei isolated from epididymal cells than in those from inguinal cells. Finally, greater abundance of mitochondria in epididymal tissue is in agreement with higher cytochrome c oxidase activity as well as increased respiration (i.e. basal and noradrenaline-stimulated) of adipocytes isolated from epididymal tissue as compared to adipocytes isolated from inguinal tissue. Therefore, white adipose tissue appears as a heterogeneous organ with marked variation in mitochondrial content depending on its anatomical location. (Mol Cell Biochem 267: 157–166, 2004)