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Macrophage polarization state affects lipid composition and the channeling of exogenous fatty acids into endogenous lipid pools

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posted on 2022-01-24, 00:51 authored by Pooranee K Chanthira MorganPooranee K Chanthira Morgan, K Huynh, G Pernes, PM Miotto, NA Mellett, C Giles, PJ Meikle, Andrew MurphyAndrew Murphy, GI Lancaster
Adipose-tissue-resident macrophages (ATMs) maintain metabolic homeostasis but also contribute to obesity-induced adipose tissue inflammation and metabolic dysfunction. Central to these contrasting effects of ATMs on metabolic homeostasis is the interaction of macrophages with fatty acids. Fatty acid levels are increased within adipose tissue in various pathological and physiological conditions, but appear to initiate inflammatory responses only upon interaction with particular macrophage subsets within obese adipose tissue. The molecular basis underlying these divergent outcomes is likely due to phenotypic differences between ATM subsets, although how macrophage polarization state influences the metabolism of exogenous fatty acids is relatively unknown. Herein, using stable isotope-labeled and nonlabeled fatty acids in combination with mass spectrometry lipidomics, we show marked differences in the utilization of exogenous fatty acids within inflammatory macrophages (M1 macrophages) and macrophages involved in tissue homeostasis (M2 macrophages). Specifically, the accumulation of exogenous fatty acids within triacylglycerols and cholesterol esters is significantly higher in M1 macrophages, while there is an increased enrichment of exogenous fatty acids within glycerophospholipids, ether lipids, and sphingolipids in M2 macrophages. Finally, we show that functionally distinct ATM populations in vivo have distinct lipid compositions. Collectively, this study identifies new aspects of the metabolic reprogramming that occur in distinct macrophage polarization states. The channeling of exogenous fatty acids into particular lipid synthetic pathways may contribute to the sensitivity/resistance of macrophage subsets to the inflammatory effects of increased environmental fatty acid levels.


Publication Date



Journal of Biological Chemistry





Article Number



14 p.





Rights Statement

© 2021 THE AUTHORS. Published by Elsevier Inc on behalf of American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (

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