Adipose tissues display a remarkable ability to adapt to the dietary status. The Mandrup and Madsen Groups have applied single-nucleus RNA-seq to map the plasticity of mouse epididymal white adipose tissue at single-nucleus resolution in response to high-fat-diet-induced obesity. The single-nucleus approach allowed them to recover all major cell types and to reveal distinct transcriptional stages along the entire adipogenic trajectory from preadipocyte commitment to mature adipocytes. They demonstrate the existence of different adipocyte subpopulations and show that obesity leads to disappearance of the lipogenic subpopulation and increased abundance of the stressed lipid-scavenging subpopulation. Moreover, obesity is associated with major changes in the abundance and gene expression of other cell populations, including a dramatic increase in lipid-handling genes in macrophages at the expense of macrophage-specific genes. The data provide a powerful resource for future hypothesis-driven investigations of the mechanisms of adipocyte differentiation and adipose tissue plasticity.
The paper is published in Cell Metabolism and the abstract as well as link to the full text version can be found here.