Removal of epididymal visceral adipose tissue prevents obesity-induced multi-organ insulin resistance in male mice

Michael P. Franczyk, Mai He, Jun Yoshino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Obesity is associated with insulin resistance, an important risk factor of type 2 diabetes, atherogenic dyslipidemia, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The major purpose of this study was to test hypothesize that prophylactic removal of epididymal visceral adipose tissue (VAT) prevents obesity-induced multi-organ (liver, skeletal muscle, adipose tissue) insulin resistance. Accordingly, we surgically removed epididymal VAT pads from adult C57BL/6J mice and evaluated in vivo and cellular metabolic pathways involved in glucose and lipid metabolism following chronic high-fat diet (HFD) feeding. We found that VAT removal decreases HFD-induced body weight gain while increasing subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) mass. Strikingly, VAT removal prevents obesity-induced insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia and markedly enhances insulin-stimulated AKT-phosphorylation at serine-473 (Ser473) and threonine-308 (Thr308) sites in SAT, liver, and skeletal muscle. VAT removal leads to decreases in plasma lipid concentrations and hepatic triglyceride (TG) content. In addition, VAT removal increases circulating adiponectin, a key insulin-sensitizing adipokine, whereas it decreases circulating interleukin 6, a pro-inflammatory adipokine. Consistent with these findings, VAT removal increases adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase C phosphorylation, a major downstream target of adiponectin signaling. Data obtained from RNA sequencing suggest that VAT removal prevents obesity-induced oxidative stress and inflammation in liver and SAT, respectively. Taken together, these findings highlight the metabolic benefits and possible action mechanisms of prophylactic VAT removal on obesity-induced insulin resistance and hepatosteatosis. Our results also provide important insight into understanding the extraordinary capability of adipose tissue to influence whole-body glucose and lipid metabolism as an active endocrine organ.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberbvab024
JournalJournal of the Endocrine Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2021


  • Adipokine
  • Adiponectin
  • Adipose tissue
  • Free fatty acids
  • Insulin resistance
  • Obesity


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