The impact of metabolic endotoxaemia on the browning process in human adipocytes

Omran, F., Murphy, A.M. ORCID: 0000-0001-5554-1558, Younis, A.Z., Kyrou, I., Vrbikova, J., Hainer, V., Sramkova, P., Fried, M., Ball, G., Tripathi, G., Kumar, S., McTernan, P.G. ORCID: 0000-0001-9023-0261 and Christian, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-1616-4179, 2023. The impact of metabolic endotoxaemia on the browning process in human adipocytes. BMC Medicine, 21: 154. ISSN 1741-7015

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Background: Dysfunctional adipose tissue (AT) is known to contribute to the pathophysiology of metabolic disease, including type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). This dysfunction may occur, in part, as a consequence of gut-derived endotoxaemia inducing changes in adipocyte mitochondrial function and reducing the proportion of BRITE (brown-in-white) adipocytes. Therefore, the present study investigated whether endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide; LPS) directly contributes to impaired human adipocyte mitochondrial function and browning in human adipocytes, and the relevant impact of obesity status pre and post bariatric surgery.

Methods: Human differentiated abdominal subcutaneous (AbdSc) adipocytes from participants with obesity and normal-weight participants were treated with endotoxin to assess in vitro changes in mitochondrial function and BRITE phenotype. Ex vivo human AbdSc AT from different groups of participants (normal-weight, obesity, pre-and 6 months post-bariatric surgery) were assessed for similar analyses including circulating endotoxin levels.

Results: Ex vivo AT analysis (lean & obese, weight loss post-bariatric surgery) identified that systemic endotoxin negatively correlated with BAT gene expression (p < 0.05). In vitro endotoxin treatment of AbdSc adipocytes (lean & obese) reduced mitochondrial dynamics (74.6% reduction; p < 0.0001), biogenesis (81.2% reduction; p < 0.0001) and the BRITE phenotype (93.8% reduction; p < 0.0001). Lean AbdSc adipocytes were more responsive to adrenergic signalling than obese AbdSc adipocytes; although endotoxin mitigated this response (92.6% reduction; p < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Taken together, these data suggest that systemic gut-derived endotoxaemia contributes to both individual adipocyte dysfunction and reduced browning capacity of the adipocyte cell population, exacerbating metabolic consequences. As bariatric surgery reduces endotoxin levels and is associated with improving adipocyte functionality, this may provide further evidence regarding the metabolic benefits of such surgical interventions.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: BMC Medicine
Creators: Omran, F., Murphy, A.M., Younis, A.Z., Kyrou, I., Vrbikova, J., Hainer, V., Sramkova, P., Fried, M., Ball, G., Tripathi, G., Kumar, S., McTernan, P.G. and Christian, M.
Publisher: BioMed Central
Date: 2023
Volume: 21
ISSN: 1741-7015
Rights: © The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 24 Apr 2023 10:13
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2023 10:13

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