Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program



Program in Molecular Medicine

First Thesis Advisor

Silvia Corvera, M.D.


Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Lipopolysaccharides, Antigens, CD14, Inflammation, Adipocytes, Insulin Resistance, Glucose Intolerance, Mice


Once seen as a disease of wealthy nations, type 2 diabetes mellitus is now showing unprecedented growth throughout the world, fueling increases in microvascular and macrovascular complications. A compelling and growing body of evidence suggests that glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, hallmarks of the diabetic patient, may be driven by chronic inflammation. In particular, a predominance of visceral fat has been associated with enhanced inflammatory cytokine secretion that may contribute to enhanced risk of diabetes and comorbid cardiovascular disease in these individuals. As a function of its potency and wide environmental and biological distribution, we hypothesized that bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS, also known as endotoxin) may promote adipose inflammation and concomitant metabolic dysfunction.

Indeed, expression of the LPS receptor CD14 is enhanced on visceral adipocytes of ob/ob mice, paralleling enhanced IL-6 secretion ex vivo. Furthermore, rosiglitazonefed ob/obmice demonstrated a reduction in CD14 that coordinated with diminished IL-6 secretion, suggesting a basis for the touted anti-inflammatory effects of this commonly employed type 2 diabetes medication. Mice deficient in components of the LPS signaling cascade, namely CD14, TLR4, and MyD88, yielded adipocytes with markedly attenuated IL-6 secretion, corroborating the central importance of LPS in adipocyte inflammation and supporting the role of this signaling pathway in depot-specific inflammation.

Despite the prominent role of LPS signaling in adipocyte inflammation, CD14-, TLR4-, and MyD88-deficient mice failed to show resistance to diet induced obesity. Surprisingly, cd14-/- and tlr4-/- mice had marked glucose intolerance without alteration in total weight or adipose accumulation. In contrast, myd88-/- mice revealed minor glucose intolerance only with high fat diet challenge at an advanced age despite being overtly obese. In cd14-/- and tlr4-/-, but not myd88-/-, mice, an exaggerated rebound to hypoglycemia was associated with enhanced norepinephrine secretion, which could be abrogated by the adrenergic β-blocker propranolol. The overlay of these mouse models reveals a divergence of phenotypes that demonstrate LPS signaling disruption may lead to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance in part due to enhanced sympathoadrenal tone, uncovering an essential role of innate immunity in physiological stress and its impact upon glucose homeostasis.



Rights and Permissions

Copyright is held by the author, with all rights reserved.