International Journal of Medical Sciences

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19 December 2018

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Int J Med Sci 2017; 14(9):853-861. doi:10.7150/ijms.19638

Research Paper

β2 Adrenoceptors are underexpressed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and associated with a better metabolic profile in central obesity

Fernanda Leite1,2,3, Margarida Lima2,3, Franca Marino4, Marco Cosentino4, Laura Ribeiro1,5,6✉

1. Department of Biomedicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto, Portugal
2. Department of Clinical Haematology, Centro Hospitalar of Porto, Portugal
3. UMIB/ICBAS - Unit for Multidisciplinary Investigation in Biomedicine- Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar, Porto, Portugal
4. Center of Research in Medical Pharmacology, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy
5. Department of Public Health Sciences, Forensic and Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto, Portugal
6. I3S-Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde, University of Porto, Portugal


Background: Central obesity (CO) is an inflammatory disease. Because immune cells and adipocytes are catecholamines(CA)-producing cells, we studied the expression of adrenoceptors (AR) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) hypothesizing a distinct adrenergic pattern in inflammatory obesity.

Methods: AR expression was assessed in blood donors categorized by waist circumference (WC) (CO: WC≥0.80 m in women and ≥0.94 m in men). Following a pilot study for all AR subtypes, we measured β2AR expression in fifty-seven individuals and correlated this result with anthropometric, metabolic and inflammatory parameters. A ratio (R) between AR mRNA of CO and non-CO<0.5 was considered under and >2.0 over expression.

Results: The pilot study revealed no differences between groups, except for β2AR mRNA. CO individuals showed underexpression of β2AR relatively to those without CO (R=0.08; p=0.009). β2AR expression inversely correlated with triacylglycerol (r=-0.271; p=0.041), very low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (r=-0.313; p=0.018) and leptin (r=-0.392; p=0.012) and positively with high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (r=0.310: p=0.045) plasma levels. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed a protective effect of β2AR expression (≥2x10-6) [odds ratio (OR) 0.177 with respective confidence interval of 95% (95% CI) (0.040- 0.796)] for the occurrence of CO. A higher association was found for women as compared to men (Ξ9:1) [OR 8.972 (95% CI) (1.679-47.949)].

Conclusion: PBMCs β2AR, underexpressed in centrally obese, are associated with a better metabolic profile and showed a protective role for the development of CO. The discovery of β2AR as a new molecular marker of obesity subphenotypes in PBMCs might contribute to clarify the adrenergic immunomodulation of inflammatory obesity.

Keywords: beta2-adrenoceptor, immune cells, central obesity, inflammation, catecholamines.

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How to cite this article:
Leite F, Lima M, Marino F, Cosentino M, Ribeiro L. β2 Adrenoceptors are underexpressed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and associated with a better metabolic profile in central obesity. Int J Med Sci 2017; 14(9):853-861. doi:10.7150/ijms.19638. Available from