Separation of human adipocytes by size: hypertrophic fat cells display distinct gene expression
Journal article, 2006

Enlarged adipocytes are associated with insulin resistance and are an independent predictor of type 2 diabetes. To understand the molecular link between these diseases and adipocyte hypertrophy, we developed a technique to separate human adipocytes from an adipose tissue sample into populations of small cells (mean 57.6+-3.54 um) and large cells (mean 100.1+-3.94 um). Microarray analysis of the cell populations separated from adipose tissue from three subjects identified 14 genes, of which five immune-related, with more than fourfold higher expression in large cells than small cells. Two of these genes were serum amyloid A (SAA) and transmembrane 4 L six family member 1 (TM4SF1). Real-time RT-PCR analysis of SAA and TM4SF1 expression in adipocytes from seven subjects revealed 19-fold and 22-fold higher expression in the large cells, respectively, and a correlation between adipocyte size and both SAA and TM4SF1 expression. The results were verified using immunohistochemistry. In comparison with 17 other human tissues and cell types by microarray, large adipocytes displayed by far the highest SAA and TM4SF1 expression. Thus, we have identified genes with markedly higher expression in large, compared with small, human adipocytes. These genes may link hypertrophic obesity to insulin resistance/type 2 diabetes.

serum amyloid a

transmembrane 4 L six family member 1

insulin resistance


cell size


Margareta Jernås

University of Gothenburg

Jenny Palming

University of Gothenburg

Kajsa Sjöholm

University of Gothenburg

Eva Jennische

University of Gothenburg

Per-Arne Svensson

University of Gothenburg

Britt Gabrielsson

Research Centre for Endocrinology and Metabolism

Max Levin

University of Gothenburg

Anders Sjögren

Chalmers, Mathematical Sciences, Mathematical Statistics

University of Gothenburg

Mats Rudemo

University of Gothenburg

Chalmers, Mathematical Sciences, Mathematical Statistics

Ted Lystig

University of Gothenburg

Björn Carlsson

University of Gothenburg

Lena M S Carlsson

University of Gothenburg

Malin Lönn

University of Gothenburg

FASEB Journal

0892-6638 (ISSN) 1530-6860 (eISSN)

Vol. 20 9 E832-E839

Subject Categories

Endocrinology and Diabetes

Probability Theory and Statistics



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