Nutritionally Derived Metabolic Cues Typical of the Obese Microenvironment Increase Cholesterol Efflux Capacity of Adipose Tissue Macrophages

Type Article

Journal Article


M. E. O'Reilly; S. Kajani; J. C. Ralston; Y. M. Lenighan; H. M. Roche; F. C. McGillicuddy

Year of publication



Mol Nutr Food Res








BACKGROUND: Cholesterol retention within plasma membranes of macrophages is associated with increased inflammatory signaling. Cholesterol efflux via the transporters ABCA1, ABCG1, and SR-BI to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles is a critical mechanism to maintain cellular cholesterol homeostasis. Little is known about the impact of the obese microenvironment on cholesterol efflux capacity (CEC) of macrophages. In this study, the CEC of obese-derived primary adipose-tissue macrophages (ATM) is evaluated and the in vivo microenvironment is modeled in vitro to determine mechanisms underlying modulated CEC. MATERIALS AND METHODS: F4/80(+) ATM are labeled with (3) H-cholesterol ex vivo, and CEC and ABCA1/ABCG1 protein levels are determined. Total, ABCA1-dependent, and ABCA1-independent CECs are determined in J774 macrophages polarized to M1 (LPS&IFNγ), M2 (IL-4&IL-13), or metabolic phenotypes (glucose, insulin, and palmitic acid). RESULTS: Obese ATM exhibit enhanced CEC and ABCA1 and ABCG1 expression compared to lean ATM. In contrast, ABCA1-CEC is suppressed from M1 polarized macrophages compared to untreated in vitro, by activation of the JAK/STAT pathway. Incubation of macrophages in vitro in high glucose augments cAMP-induced ABCA1 protein expression and ABCA1-CEC. CONCLUSIONS: These novel findings demonstrate remarkable plasticity of macrophages to respond to their environment with specific modulation of ABCA1 depending on whether classical pro-inflammatory or metabolic cues predominate.