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Twist 1 regulates the expression of PPARγ during hormone-induced 3T3-L1 preadipocyte differentiation: a possible role in obesity and associated diseases

Wanshan Ma12, Sumei Lu1, Tao Sun1, Xiangdong Wang3, Yongmei Ma1, Xiaoli Zhang4, Ruxing Zhao4 and Yunshan Wang2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Laboratory Medicine, Shandong Provincial Qianfoshan Hospital, Shandong University, Jingshi Road 16766, Jinan, Shandong 250014, P. R. China

2 Medical Research & Laboratory Diagnostic Center, Jinan Center Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong 250013, P.R. China

3 The Institute of Cell Biology, Shandong University School of Medicine, Jinan, Shandong 250012, P.R. China

4 Department of Endocrinology, Department of Nephrology, Qilu Hospital of Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong 250012, P.R. China

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Lipids in Health and Disease 2014, 13:132  doi:10.1186/1476-511X-13-132

Published: 16 August 2014



Twist 1 is highly expressed in adipose tissue and has been associated with obesity and related disorders. However, the molecular function of Twist 1 in adipose tissue is unclear. Twist 1 has been implicated in cell lineage determination and differentiation. Therefore, we investigated both the role of Twist 1 in adipocyte precursor mobilization and the relationship of Twist 1 with other molecular determinants of adipocyte differentiation.


We examined Twist 1 mRNA and protein expression in subcutaneous adipose tissues from diet-induced obese C57/BL6 mice and Wistar rats and in obese patients undergoing liposuction or adipose transplant surgeries. Twist 1 expression was measured on days 0, 2, 4, 8, and 12 of 3T3-L1 differentiation in vitro. The role of Twist 1 in adipogenesis was explored using retroviral interference of Twist 1 expression. Adipokine secretion was evaluated using a RayBio® Biotin Label-based Adipokine Array.


Twist 1 mRNA and protein levels were reduced in diet-induced obese mice and rats and in obese humans. Twist 1 was upregulated during 3T3-L1 preadipocyte differentiation in vitro, beginning from the fourth day of differentiation induction. Retroviral interference of Twist 1 expression did not significantly impair lipid formation; however, retroviral interference induced PPARγ mRNA and protein expression on day 4 of differentiation induction. Adipokine array analyses revealed increased secretion of CXCR4 (19.55-fold), VEGFR1 (92.13-fold), L-21 R (63.55-fold), and IL-12 R beta 1 (59.66-fold) and decreased secretion of VEGFR3 (0.01-fold), TSLP R (0.071-fold), MIP-1 gamma (0.069-fold), TNF RI/TNFRSF1A (0.09-fold), and MFG-E8 (0.06-fold).


Twist 1 is a regulator of adipocyte gene expression although it is not likely to regulate differentiation. We identified PPARγ as a potential target of Twist 1 and found variation in the secretion of multiple adipokines, which might indicate a prospective mechanism linking Twist 1 expression with obesity or associated diseases.

Twist 1; Obesity; PPARγ; Adipocyte differentiation; Adipokines