Introduction: Adipose tissue is now recognized as an endocrine organ and secretes numerous molecules and proteins potentially involved in the physiopathology of the metabolic syndrome. Recently, we have determined the transcriptome of omental adipose tissue, leading to the identification of a new candidate gene for obesity-related metabolic complications, zinc finger protein 36 (ZFP36), which is known to down-regulate tumor necrosis factor-α TNF-α) expression.
Objective: The objective of this study was to further examine the relationship between ZFP36 gene expression levels, obesity-related phenotypes, and adipokines.
Methods: Abdominal subcutaneous and omental adipose tissue samples were obtained from 46 women undergoing elective gynecological surgery. Adipose tissue ZFP36 mRNA abundance was assessed by quantitative real-time PCR. Body fat accumulation and distribution were measured by dual X-ray absorptiometry and computed tomography. Fasting blood levels of glucose, insulin, and lipids, and circulating TNF-α, interleukin-6 (IL-6), resistin, and adiponectin were also measured.
Results: No correlation was observed between s.c. ZFP36 mRNA levels and any of the phenotypes tested. However, although omental ZFP36 mRNA levels were not correlated with measures of body fatness and lipid profile, they were negatively correlated with fasting insulin levels (R = −0.31; P = 0.05), the insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR; R = −0.31; P = 0.05), and 2-h post-glucose insulinemia (R = −0.32; P = 0.05). Omental ZFP36 mRNA abundance was also positively correlated with adiponectinemia (R = 0.35; P = 0.03) but not with circulating TNF-α, IL-6, and resistin concentrations.
Conclusion: These results suggest that ZFP36 gene expression in omental adipose tissue, but not in abdominal s.c. fat, may offer partial protection against the development of insulin resistance and diabetes.