Acute cold induces beige adipocyte protein marker expression in human subcutaneous white adipose tissue (SC WAT) from both the cold treated and contralateral leg, and the immune system regulates SC WAT beiging in mice. Cold treatment significantly increased the gene expression of the macrophage markers CD68 and 86 in SC WAT. Therefore, we comprehensively investigated the involvement of macrophages in SC WAT beiging in lean and obese humans by immunohistochemistry. Cold treatment significantly increased CD163/CD68 macrophages in SC WAT from the cold treated and contralateral legs of lean and obese subjects, and had similar effects on CD206/CD68 macrophages, whereas the effects on CD86/CD68 macrophages were inconsistent between lean and obese. However, linear regression analysis did not find significant relationships between the change in macrophage numbers and the change in UCP1 protein abundance. A high percentage of CD163 macrophages in SC WAT expressed UCP1, and these UCP1 expressing CD163 macrophages were significantly increased by cold treatment in SC WAT of lean subjects. In conclusion, our results suggest that CD163 macrophages are involved in some aspect of the tissue remodeling that occurs during SC WAT beiging in humans after cold treatment, but they are likely not direct mediators of the beiging process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23598
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

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© 2021, The Author(s).

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