IFNγ-producing NK cells in adipose tissue are associated with hyperglycemia and insulin resistance in obese women

Denis A. Mogilenko, Robert Caiazzo, Laurent L’homme, Laurent Pineau, Violeta Raverdy, Jerome Noulette, Bruno Derudas, Francois Pattou, Bart Staels, David Dombrowicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background/objectives: Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) play an important role in the maintenance of immune and metabolic homeostasis in adipose tissue (AT). The crosstalk between AT ILCs and adipocytes and other immune cells coordinates adipocyte differentiation, beiging, glucose metabolism and inflammation. Although the metabolic and homeostatic functions of mouse ILCs have been extensively investigated, little is known about human adipose ILCs and their roles in obesity and insulin resistance (IR). Subjects/methods: Here we characterized T and NK cell populations in omental AT (OAT) from women (n = 18) with morbid obesity and varying levels of IR and performed an integrated analysis of metabolic parameters and adipose tissue transcriptomics. Results: In OAT, we found a distinct population of CD56NKp46+EOMES+ NK cells characterized by expression of cytotoxic molecules, pro-inflammatory cytokines, and markers of cell activation. AT IFNγ+ NK cells, but not CD4, CD8 or γδ T cells, were positively associated with glucose levels, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and IR. AT NK cells were linked to a pro-inflammatory gene expression profile in AT and developed an effector phenotype in response to IL-12 and IL-15. Moreover, integrated transcriptomic analysis revealed a potential implication of AT IFNγ+ NK cells in controlling adipose tissue inflammation, remodeling, and lipid metabolism. Conclusions: Our results suggest that a distinct IFNγ−producing NK cell subset is involved in metabolic homeostasis in visceral AT in humans with obesity and may be a potential target for therapy of IR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1607-1617
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


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