Thrombospondin-1 regulates adiposity and metabolic dysfunction in diet-induced obesity enhancing adipose inflammation and stimulating adipocyte proliferation

Ping Kong, Carlos Gonzalez-Quesada, Na Li, Michele Cavalera, Dong Wook Lee, Nikolaos G. Frangogiannis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


As a typical matricellular protein, thrombospondin (TSP)-1, binds to the structural matrix and regulates cellular behavior by modulating growth factor and cytokine signaling. Obesity and diabetes are associated with marked upregulation of TSP-1 in adipose tissue. We hypothesized that endogenous TSP-1 may play an important role in the pathogenesis of diet-induced obesity and metabolic dysfunction. Accordingly, we examined the effects of TSP-1 gene disruption on weight gain, adiposity, and adipose tissue inflammation in mice receiving a high-fat diet (HFD: 60% fat, 20% carbohydrate) or a high-carbohydrate low-fat diet (HCLFD: 10% fat, 70% carbohydrate). HFD mice had significantly higher TSP-1 expression in perigonadal adipose tissue; TSP-1 was predominantly localized in the adipose interstitium. TSP-1 loss attenuated weight gain and fat accumulation in HFD and HCLFD groups. Compared with corresponding wild-type animals, TSP-1-null mice had decreased insulin levels but exhibited elevated free fatty acid and triglyceride levels, suggesting impaired fatty acid uptake. TSP-1 loss did not affect adipocyte size and had no effect on adipose vascular density. However, TSP-1-null mice exhibited attenuated tumor necrosis factor- mRNA expression and reduced macrophage infiltration, suggesting a role for TSP-1 in mediating obesity-associated inflammation. In vitro, TSP-1 enhanced proliferation of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes but did not modulate inflammatory cytokine and chemokine synthesis. In conclusion, TSP-1 upregulation contributes to weight gain, adipose growth, and the pathogenesis of metabolic dysfunction. The effects of TSP-1 may involve stimulation of adipocyte proliferation, activation of inflammatory signaling, and facilitated fatty acid uptake by adipocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E439-E450
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013


  • Adipocyte
  • Inflammation
  • Macrophage
  • Matricellular proteins
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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