Aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 a1 regulates energy metabolism in adipocytes from different species

Kefeng Yang, Christopher Adin, Qiwen Shen, Ly James Lee, Lianbo Yu, Paolo Fadda, Arpad Samogyi, Kathleen Ham, Lu Xu, Chen Gilor, Ouliana Ziouzenkova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Survival and longevity of xenotransplants depend on immune function and ability to integrate energy metabolism between cells from different species. However, mechanisms for interspecies cross talk in energy metabolism are not well understood. White adipose tissue stores energy and is capable of mobilization and dissipation of energy as heat (thermogenesis) by adipocytes expressing uncoupling protein 1 (Ucp1). Both pathways are under the control of vitamin A metabolizing enzymes. Deficient retinoic acid production in aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 A1 (Aldh1a1) knockout adipocytes (KO) inhibits adipogenesis and increases thermogenesis. Here we test the role Aldh1a1 in regulation of lipid metabolism in xenocultures. Methods: Murine wide-type (WT) and KO pre-adipocytes were encapsulated into a poly-L-lysine polymer that allows exchange of humoral factors <32kD via nanopores. Encapsulated murine adipocytes were co-incubated with primary differentiated canine adipocytes. Then, expression of adipogenic and thermogenic genes in differentiated canine adipocytes was detected by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The regulatory factors in WT and KO cells were identified by comparison of secretome using proteomics and in transcriptome by gene microarray. Results: Co-culture of encapsulated mouse KO vs WT adipocytes increased expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (Pparg), but reduced expression of its target genes fatty acid binding protein 4 (Fabp4), and adipose triglyceride lipase (Atgl) in canine adipocytes, suggesting inhibition of PPARγ activation. Co-culture with KO adipocytes also induced expression of Ucp1 in canine adipocytes compared to expression in WT adipocytes. Cumulatively, murine KO compared to WT adipocytes decreased lipid accumulation in canine adipocytes. Comparative proteomics revealed significantly higher levels of vitamin A carriers, retinol binding protein 4 (RBP4), and lipokalin 2 (LCN2) in KO vs WT adipocytes. Conclusions: Our data demonstrate the functional exchange of regulatory factors between adipocytes from different species for regulation of energy balance. RBP4 and LCN2 appear to be involved in the transport of retinoids for regulation of lipid accumulation and thermogenesis in xenocultures. While the rarity of thermogenic adipocytes in humans and dogs precludes their use for autologous transplantation, our study demonstrates that xenotransplantation of engineered cells could be a potential solution for the reduction in obesity in dogs and a strategy for translation to patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - 2017


  • Adipocytes
  • Adipogenesis
  • Beige
  • Bright adipocytes
  • Brown
  • Energy balance
  • Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin
  • Obesity
  • Transplantation
  • Vitamin A
  • Xenocultures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Transplantation


Dive into the research topics of 'Aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 a1 regulates energy metabolism in adipocytes from different species'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this