Limited mitochondrial capacity of visceral versus subcutaneous white adipocytes in male C57BL/6N mice

Theresa Schöttl, Lisa Kappler, Katharina Braun, Tobias Fromme, Martin Klingenspor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Accumulation of visceral fat is associated with metabolic risk whereas excessive amounts of peripheral fat are considered less problematic. At the same time, altered white adipocyte mitochondrial bioenergetics has been implicated in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. We therefore investigated whether the metabolic risk of visceral vs peripheral fat coincides with a difference in mitochondrial capacity of white adipocytes. We assessed bioenergetic parameters of subcutaneous inguinal and visceral epididymal white adipocytes from male C57BL/6N mice employing a comprehensive respirometry setup of intact and permeabilized adipocytes as well as isolated mitochondria. Inguinal adipocytes clearly featured a higher respiratory capacity attributable to increased mitochondrial respiratory chain content compared with epididymal adipocytes. The lower capacity of mitochondria from epididymal adipocytes was accompanied by an increased generation of reactive oxygen species per oxygen consumed. Feeding a high-fat diet (HFD) for 1 week reduced white adipocyte mitochondrial capacity, with stronger effects in epididymal when compared with inguinal adipocytes. This was accompanied by impaired body glucose homeostasis. Therefore, the limited bioenergetic performance combined with the proportionally higher generation of reactive oxygen species of visceral adipocytes could be seen as a candidate mechanism mediating the elevated metabolic risk associated with this fat depot.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)923-933
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2015


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