The prevalence of obesity is increasing exponentially across the globe. The lack of effective treatment options for long-term weight loss has magnified the enormity of this problem. Studies continue to demonstrate that adipose tissue holds a biological memory, one of the most important determinant of long-term weight maintenance. This phenomenon is consistent with the metabolically dynamic role of adipose tissue: it adapts and expands to store for excess energy and serves as an endocrine organ capable of synthesizing a number of biologically active molecules that regulate metabolic homeostasis. An important component of the plasticity of adipose tissue is the extracellular matrix, essential for structural support, mechanical stability, cell signaling and function. Chronic obesity upends a delicate balance of extracellular matrix synthesis and degradation, and the ECM accumulates in such a way that prevents the plasticity and function of the diverse cell types in adipose tissue. A series of maladaptive responses among the cells in adipose tissue leads to inflammation and fibrosis, major mechanisms that explain the link between obesity and insulin resistance, risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Adipose tissue fibrosis persists after weight loss and further enhances adipose tissue dysfunction if weight is regained. Here, we highlight the current knowledge of the cellular events governing adipose tissue ECM remodeling during the development of obesity. Our goal is to delineate the relationship more clearly between adipose tissue ECM and metabolic disease, an important step toward better defining the pathophysiology of dysfunctional adipose tissue.
Hyperglucagonemia, a hallmark in obesity and insulin resistance promotes hepatic glucose output, exacerbating hyperglycemia and thus predisposing to the development type 2 diabetes. As such, glucagon signaling is a key target for new therapeutics to manage insulin resistance. We evaluated glucagon homeostasis in lean and obese mice and people. In lean mice, fasting for 24 h caused a rise in glucagon. In contrast, a decrease in serum glucagon compared to baseline was observed in diet-induced obese mice between 8 and 24 h of fasting. Fasting decreased serum insulin in both lean and obese mice. Accordingly, the glucagon:insulin ratio was unaffected by fasting in obese mice but increased in lean mice. Re-feeding (2 h) restored hyperglucagonemia in obese mice. Pancreatic perfusion studies confirm that fasting (16 h) decreases pancreatic glucagon secretion in obese mice. Consistent with our findings in the mouse, a mixed meal increased serum glucagon and insulin concentrations in obese humans, both of which decreased with time after a meal. Consequently, fasting and re-feeding less robustly affected glucagon:insulin ratios in obese compared to lean participants. The glucoregulatory disturbance in obesity may be driven by inappropriate regulation of glucagon by fasting and a static glucagon:insulin ratio.