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Glucocorticoid receptor gene expression in adipose tissue and associated metabolic risk in black and white South African women

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Brian WalkerORCiD


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© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.BACKGROUND: Black women have lower visceral adipose tissue (VAT) but are less insulin sensitive than white women; the mechanisms responsible are unknown. OBJECTIVE: The study aimed to test the hypothesis that variation in subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) sensitivity to glucocorticoids might underlie these differences. METHODS: Body fatness (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) and distribution (computerized tomography), insulin sensitivity (SI, intravenous and oral glucose tolerance tests), and expression of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-1 (11HSD1), hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and glucocorticoid receptor-α (GRα), as well as genes involved in adipogenesis and inflammation were measured in abdominal deep SAT, superficial SAT and gluteal SAT (GLUT) depots of 56 normal-weight or obese black and white premenopausal South African (SA) women. We used a combination of univariate and multivariate statistics to evaluate ethnic-specific patterns in adipose gene expression and related body composition and insulin sensitivity measures. RESULTS: Although 11HSD1 activity and mRNA did not differ by ethnicity, GRα mRNA levels were signi ficantly lower in SAT of black compared with white women, particularly in the GLUT depot (0.52 ± 0.21 vs 0.91 ± 0.26 AU, respectively, P < 0.01). In black women, lower SAT GRα mRNA levels were associated with increased inflammatory gene transcript levels and abdominal SAT area, and reduced adipogenic gene transcript levels, VAT/SAT ratio and SI. Abdominal SAT 11HSD1 activity associated with increased VAT area and decreased SI in white, but not in black women. CONCLUSIONS: In black SA women, downregulation of GRα mRNA levels with obesity and reduced insulin sensitivity, possibly via increased SAT in flammation, is associated with reduced VAT accumulation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Goedecke JH, Chorell E, Livingstone D, Stimson RH, Hayes P, Adams K, Dave JA, Victor H, Levitt NS, Kahn SE, Seckl JR, Walker BR, Olsson T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Obesity

Year: 2015

Volume: 39

Issue: 2

Pages: 303-311

Online publication date: 20/05/2014

Acceptance date: 18/05/2014

ISSN (print): 0307-0565

ISSN (electronic): 1476-5497

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/ijo.2014.94

PubMed id: 24854429


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