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Lactate is a Key Mediator That Links Obesity to Insulin Resistance via Modulating Cytokine Production From Adipose Tissue

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posted on 19.01.2022, 15:33 authored by Yijun Lin, Meijuan Bai, Shuo Wang, Lingling Chen, Zixuan Li, Chenchen Li, Peijuan Cao, Yan Chen
Numerous evidences indicate that inflammation in adipose tissue is the primary cause of systemic insulin resistance induced by obesity. Obesity-associated changes in circulating LPS level and hypoxia/HIF-1a activation have been proposed to be involved in boosting obesity-induced inflammation. However, what triggers obesity-induced inflammation is poorly understood. In this study, we pinpoint lactate as a key trigger to mediate obesity-induced inflammation and systemic insulin resistance. Specific deletion of Slc16a1 that encodes MCT1, the primary lactate transporter in adipose tissues, robustly elevates blood levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and aggravates systemic insulin resistance without alteration of adiposity in mice fed high-fat diet. Slc16a1 deletion in adipocytes elevates intracellular lactate level while reducing circulating lactate concentration. Mechanistically, lactate retention due to Slc16a1 deletion initiates adipocyte apoptosis and cytokine release. The locally recruited macrophages amplify the inflammation by release of pro-inflammatory cytokines to the circulation, leading to insulin resistance in peripheral tissues. This study, therefore, indicates that lactate within adipocytes has a key biological function linking obesity to insulin resistance, and harnessing lactate in adipocytes can be a promising strategy to break this deadly link.


This study was funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (31630036 to YC) and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2016YFA0500103 to Y.C.).