Obesity Surgery

, Volume 19, Issue 11, pp 1564–1573 | Cite as

Differential Intra-abdominal Adipose Tissue Profiling in Obese, Insulin-resistant Women

  • Alice LiuEmail author
  • Tracey McLaughlin
  • Teresa Liu
  • Arthur Sherman
  • Gail Yee
  • Fahim Abbasi
  • Cindy Lamendola
  • John Morton
  • Samuel W. Cushman
  • Gerald M. Reaven
  • Philip S. Tsao
Clinical Research



We recently identified differences in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) from insulin-resistant (IR) as compared to obesity-matched insulin sensitive individuals, including accumulation of small adipose cells, decreased expression of cell differentiation markers, and increased inflammatory activity. This study was initiated to see if these changes in SAT of IR individuals were present in omental visceral adipose tissue (VAT); in this instance, individuals were chosen to be IR but varied in degree of adiposity. We compared cell size distribution and genetic markers in SAT and VAT of IR individuals undergoing bariatric surgery.


Eleven obese/morbidly obese women were IR by the insulin suppression test. Adipose tissue surgical samples were fixed in osmium tetroxide for cell size analysis via Beckman Coulter Multisizer. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction for genes related to adipocyte differentiation and inflammation was performed.


While proportion of small cells and expression of adipocyte differentiation genes did not differ between depots, inflammatory genes were upregulated in VAT. Diameter of SAT large cells correlated highly with increasing proportion of small cells in both SAT and VAT (r = 0.85, p = 0.001; r = 0.72, p = 0.01, respectively). No associations were observed between VAT large cells and cell size variables in either depot. The effect of body mass index (BMI) on any variables in both depots was negligible.


The major differential property of VAT of IR women is increased inflammatory activity, independent of BMI. The association of SAT adipocyte hypertrophy with hyperplasia in both depots suggests a primary role SAT may have in regulating regional fat storage.


Adipose cell size Inflammation Obesity Visceral adipose tissue 



Funding for this study was provided by study grants NIH/NIDDK 1 R01 DK071309-01, 5 R01 DK071333-04, and 5 F32 DK079578-02, by the NIDDK Intramural Research Program and supported by Human Health Service grant M01-RR00070.

Conflict of interest

The authors disclose that there was no commercial interest involved in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alice Liu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tracey McLaughlin
    • 1
  • Teresa Liu
    • 2
  • Arthur Sherman
    • 2
  • Gail Yee
    • 3
  • Fahim Abbasi
    • 3
  • Cindy Lamendola
    • 3
  • John Morton
    • 4
  • Samuel W. Cushman
    • 2
  • Gerald M. Reaven
    • 3
  • Philip S. Tsao
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Endocrinology, Department of MedicineStanford University Medical CenterStanfordUSA
  2. 2.National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney DiseasesNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Division of Cardiology, Department of MedicineStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  4. 4.Department of SurgeryStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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