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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 9067049, 11 pages
Research Article

Intrinsic Properties of Brown and White Adipocytes Have Differential Effects on Macrophage Inflammatory Responses

Berg LLC, Framingham, MA, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Rangaprasad Sarangarajan

Received 10 October 2016; Revised 31 January 2017; Accepted 12 February 2017; Published 26 March 2017

Academic Editor: Ulrich Eisel

Copyright © 2017 Louisa Dowal et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Obesity is marked by chronic, low-grade inflammation. Here, we examined whether intrinsic differences between white and brown adipocytes influence the inflammatory status of macrophages. White and brown adipocytes were characterized by transcriptional regulation of UCP-1, PGC1α, PGC1β, and CIDEA and their level of IL-6 secretion. The inflammatory profile of PMA-differentiated U937 and THP-1 macrophages, in resting state and after stimulation with LPS/IFN-gamma and IL-4, was assessed by measuring IL-6 secretion and transcriptional regulation of a panel of inflammatory genes after mono- or indirect coculture with white and brown adipocytes. White adipocyte monocultures show increased IL-6 secretion compared to brown adipocytes. White adipocytes cocultured with U937 and THP-1 macrophages induced a greater increase in IL-6 secretion compared to brown adipocytes cocultured with both macrophages. White adipocytes cocultured with macrophages increased inflammatory gene expression in both types. In contrast, macrophages cocultured with brown adipocytes induced downregulation or no alterations in inflammatory gene expression. The effects of adipocytes on macrophages appear to be independent of stimulation state. Brown adipocytes exhibit an intrinsic ability to dampen inflammatory profile of macrophages, while white adipocytes enhance it. These data suggest that brown adipocytes may be less prone to adipose tissue inflammation that is associated with obesity.