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vessel adipocyte nucleus
collagen adipocyte nucleus
As a significant risk factor for atherosclerotic disease, including myocardial and cerebral infarctions, metabolic syndrome based on visceral fat and insulin resistance has become a hot topic.
Visceral fat with obesity is highly active, secreting various adipocytokines and playing an essential role in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. Moreover, a recent study showed that the chronic inflammatory conditions within visceral fat are closely related to metabolic syndrome.
We therefore developed a unique bio-imaging technique that enables us to observe the cell-to-cell interactions thought to play an important role in metabolic syndrome within adipose tissue, which cannot be approached in a conventional manner. In he following, we will introduce new findings on the relationship between inflammatory cells and the reconstruction of adipose tissue, which we characterized using our unique bio-imaging technique.
We developed our “live tissue imaging” technique to enable us to use a confocal laser-scanning microscope to observe living adipose tissue in detail. In ordinal fixed tissue section specimens, adipose tissue is only observed as an array of lipid globules and nuclei; one cannot resolve the details of tissue structure. However, by using live tissue imaging, we have been able to grasp the details of adipose tissue function. This method does not require fixation of the tissue, so we can observe specimens without artifacts. It should be noted that in addition to adipocytes, the extracellular matrix and blood structure can also be visualized in three dimensions.
Although a variety of clinical and basic research studies have hitherto suggested that chronic inflammation is associated with obesity, the precise mechanisms remained unknown (Weisberg, JCI 2003 Hotamsligil Nature 2006). Therefore, to clarify the association between obesity and chronic inflammation, we applied confocal imaging techniques to the living body, and succeeded in visualizing in detail adipose tissue in living animals (Fig. 2) (Nishimura, 2008 JCI, 2010 JCI, 2012 Blood, 2010 J Exp Med). We labeled white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, vascular endothelium and macrophages, and visualized each cell type in real-time. From these observations, we determined that there are inflammatory reactions ongoing in the vicinity of obese adipose tissue.