Type I interferon sensing unlocks dormant adipocyte inflammatory potential

Calvin C. Chan, Michelle S.M.A. Damen, Maria E. Moreno-Fernandez, Traci E. Stankiewicz, Monica Cappelletti, Pablo C. Alarcon, Jarren R. Oates, Jessica R. Doll, Rajib Mukherjee, Xiaoting Chen, Rebekah Karns, Matthew T. Weirauch, Michael A. Helmrath, Thomas H. Inge, Senad Divanovic*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


White adipose tissue inflammation, in part via myeloid cell contribution, is central to obesity pathogenesis. Mechanisms regulating adipocyte inflammatory potential and consequent impact of such inflammation in disease pathogenesis remain poorly defined. We show that activation of the type I interferon (IFN)/IFNα receptor (IFNAR) axis amplifies adipocyte inflammatory vigor and uncovers dormant gene expression patterns resembling inflammatory myeloid cells. IFNβ-sensing promotes adipocyte glycolysis, while glycolysis inhibition impeded IFNβ-driven intra-adipocyte inflammation. Obesity-driven induction of the type I IFN axis and activation of adipocyte IFNAR signaling contributes to obesity-associated pathogenesis in mice. Notably, IFNβ effects are conserved in human adipocytes and detection of the type I IFN/IFNAR axis-associated signatures positively correlates with obesity-driven metabolic derangements in humans. Collectively, our findings reveal a capacity for the type I IFN/IFNAR axis to regulate unifying inflammatory features in both myeloid cells and adipocytes and hint at an underappreciated contribution of adipocyte inflammation in disease pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2745
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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