SUCNR1-mediated chemotaxis of macrophages aggravates obesity-induced inflammation and diabetes

Janna A. van Diepen, Joris H. Robben, Guido J. Hooiveld, Claudia Carmone, Mohammad Alsady, Lily Boutens, Melissa Bekkenkamp-Grovenstein, Anneke Hijmans, Udo F.H. Engelke, Ron A. Wevers, Mihai G. Netea, Cees J. Tack, Rinke Stienstra, Peter M.T. Deen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


Aims/hypothesis: Obesity induces macrophages to drive inflammation in adipose tissue, a crucial step towards the development of type 2 diabetes. The tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediate succinate is released from cells under metabolic stress and has recently emerged as a metabolic signal induced by proinflammatory stimuli. We therefore investigated whether succinate receptor 1 (SUCNR1) could play a role in the development of adipose tissue inflammation and type 2 diabetes. Methods: Succinate levels were determined in human plasma samples from individuals with type 2 diabetes and non-diabetic participants. Succinate release from adipose tissue explants was studied. Sucnr1−/− and wild-type (WT) littermate mice were fed a high-fat diet (HFD) or low-fat diet (LFD) for 16 weeks. Serum metabolic variables, adipose tissue inflammation, macrophage migration and glucose tolerance were determined. Results: We show that hypoxia and hyperglycaemia independently drive the release of succinate from mouse adipose tissue (17-fold and up to 18-fold, respectively) and that plasma levels of succinate were higher in participants with type 2 diabetes compared with non-diabetic individuals (+53%; p < 0.01). Sucnr1−/− mice had significantly reduced numbers of macrophages (0.56 ± 0.07 vs 0.92 ± 0.15 F4/80 cells/adipocytes, p < 0.05) and crown-like structures (0.06 ± 0.02 vs 0.14 ± 0.02, CLS/adipocytes p < 0.01) in adipose tissue and significantly improved glucose tolerance (p < 0.001) compared with WT mice fed an HFD, despite similarly increased body weights. Consistently, macrophages from Sucnr1−/− mice showed reduced chemotaxis towards medium collected from apoptotic and hypoxic adipocytes (−59%; p < 0.05). Conclusions/interpretation: Our results reveal that activation of SUCNR1 in macrophages is important for both infiltration and inflammation of adipose tissue in obesity, and suggest that SUCNR1 is a promising therapeutic target in obesity-induced type 2 diabetes. Data availability: The dataset generated and analysed during the current study is available in GEO with the accession number GSE64104,
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1304-1313
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Adipose tissue
  • Chemotaxis
  • Glucose
  • Inflammation
  • Macrophage
  • Obesity
  • Succinate
  • TCA cycle


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