Transcriptomics applied to obesity and caloric restriction

N. Viguerie, C. Poitou, R. Cancello, V. Stich, K. Clément, D. Langin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Caloric restriction still remains the most efficient way to promote weight loss. Deciphering the molecular basis of adaptation to energy restriction is critical for the tailoring of new therapeutic strategies. This review focuses on the recent input of gene profiling on adipose tissue in obesity pathogenesis and on the new insights on adaptations occurring during very low caloric diet (VLCD) in humans. Hypocaloric diets improve a wide range of metabolic parameters including lipolytic efficiency, insulin sensitivity, and inflammatory profile. In the subcutaneous white adipose tissue (scWAT) the VLCD induced a decrease in the mRNA levels for the antilipolytic α2-adrenergic receptor associated with changes in catecholamine-induced adipocyte lipolytic capacity. The improvement in insulin sensitivity was not associated with a change in subcutaneous adipose tissue adiponectin gene expression or in its plasma level, suggesting that adiponectin is not involved in the regulation of VLCD-induced improvement of insulin sensitivity and that there is a small contribution of subcutaneous adipose tissue to plasma adiponectin levels. Pangenomic microarray studies in human scWAT revealed that a panel of inflammatory markers and acute phase reactants were over expressed in obese compared to lean subjects. Caloric restriction improved the inflammatory profile of obese subjects through a decrease of pro-inflammatory factors and an increase of anti-inflammatory molecules. These genes were mostly expressed in the stroma vascular fraction of the adipose tissue. Specific cell-type isolation and immunohistochemistry demonstrated that monocyte/macrophage lineage cells were responsible for the expression of both mRNA and protein inflammatory markers. The acute phase proteins serum amyloid A was highly expressed in mature adipocytes from obese subjects. Caloric restriction decreased both serum amyloid mRNA and circulating levels. Obesity now clearly appears as chronic low-grade inflammation state. Modulation of the inflammatory pathways may represent new therapeutic targets for the treatment of obesity-related complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-123
Number of pages7
Issue number1 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


  • Caloric restriction
  • Inflammation
  • Macrophages
  • Microarrays
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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