Similarity of mouse perivascular and brown adipose tissues and their resistance to diet-induced inflammation

Student Author(s)

Timothy Fitzgibbons

Academic Program

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

UMMS Affiliation

Program in Molecular Medicine; Department of Cardiology; Department of Cell Biology

Publication Date


Document Type



Cardiovascular Diseases | Genetics and Genomics | Molecular Genetics | Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases


Thoracic perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) is a unique adipose depot that likely influences vascular function and susceptibility to pathogenesis in obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Surprisingly, PVAT has been reported to share characteristics of both brown and white adipose, but a detailed direct comparison to interscapular brown adipose tissue (BAT) has not been performed. Here we show by full genome DNA microarray analysis that global gene expression profiles of PVAT are virtually identical to BAT, with equally high expression of Ucp-1, Cidea, and other genes known to be uniquely or very highly expressed in BAT. PVAT and BAT also displayed nearly identical phenotypes upon immunohistochemical analysis, and electron microscopy confirmed that PVAT contained multilocular lipid droplets and abundant mitochondria. Compared with white adipose tissue (WAT), PVAT and BAT from C57BL6/J mice fed a high-fat diet for 13 wk had markedly lower expression of immune cell-enriched mRNAs, suggesting resistance to obesity-induced inflammation. Indeed, staining of BAT and PVAT for macrophage markers (F4/80 and CD68) in obese mice showed virtually no macrophage infiltration, and FACS analysis of BAT confirmed the presence of very few CD11b(+)/CD11c(+) macrophages in BAT (1.0%) compared with WAT (31%). In summary, murine PVAT from the thoracic aorta is virtually identical to interscapular BAT, is resistant to diet-induced macrophage infiltration, and thus may play an important role in protecting the vascular bed from inflammatory stress.

DOI of Published Version



10.1152/ajpheart.00376.2011. Epub 2011 Jul 15. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID