Sema3A and neuropilin-1 expression and distribution in rat white adipose tissue

Antonio Giordano, Paola Cesari, Lorena Capparuccia, Mario Castellucci, Saverio Cinti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Semaphorins are cell surface and/or soluble signals that exert an inhibitory control on axon guidance. Sema3A, the vertebrate-secreted semaphorin, binds to neuropilin-1, which together with plexins constitutes the functional receptor. To verify whether Sema3A is produced by white adipocytes and, in that case, to detect its targets in white adipose tissue, we studied the cell production and tissue distribution of Sema3A and neuropilin-1 in rat retroperitoneal and epididymal adipose depots. Sema3A and neuropilin-1 were detected in these depots by Western blotting. The immunohistochemical results showed that Sema3A is produced in, and possibly secreted by, smooth muscle cells of arteries and white adipocytes. Accordingly, neuropilin-1 was found on perivascular and parenchymal nerves. Such a pattern of distribution is in line with a role for secreted Sema3A in the growth and plasticity of white adipose tissue nerves. Indeed, after fasting, when white adipocytes are believed to be overstimulated by noradrenaline and rearrangement of the parenchymal nerve supply may occur, adipocytic expression of Sema3A is reduced. Finally, the presence of neuropilin-1 in some white adipocytes raises the interesting possibility that Sema3A also exerts an autocrine-paracrine role on these cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-352
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurocytology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Anatomy
  • Cell Biology
  • Histology


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