Role for Retinoic Acid-Related Orphan Receptor Alpha (RORα) Expressing Macrophages in Diet-Induced Obesity

Type Article

Journal Article


E. Hams; J. Roberts; R. Bermingham; A. E. Hogan; D. O'Shea; L. O'Neill; P. G. Fallon

Year of publication



Front Immunol







The transcription factor RORα plays an important role in regulating circadian rhythm, inflammation, metabolism, and cellular development. Herein we show a role for RORα-expressing macrophages in the adipose tissue in altering the metabolic state of mice on a high-fat diet. The expression of Rora and RORA is elevated in white adipose tissue from obese mice and humans when compared to lean counterparts. When fed a high-fat diet Rora reporter mice revealed increased expression of Rora-YFP in macrophages in white adipose tissue deposits. To further define the potential role for Rora-expressing macrophages in the generation of an aberrant metabolic state Rora (fl/fl)LysM(Cre/+) mice, which do not express Rora in myeloid cells, were maintained on a high-fat diet, and metabolic parameters assessed. These mice had significantly impaired weight gain and improved metabolic parameters in comparison to Rora (fl/fl) control mice. Further analysis of the immune cell populations within white adipose tissue deposits demonstrates a decrease in inflammatory adipose tissue macrophages (ATM). In obese reporter mouse there was increased in Rora-YFP expressing ATM in adipose tissue. Analysis of peritoneal macrophage populations demonstrates that within the peritoneal cavity Rora-expression is limited to myeloid-derived macrophages, suggesting a novel role for RORα in macrophage development and activation, which can impact on metabolism, and inflammation.