Increased expression of the interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase (IRAK)-1 is associated with adipose tissue inflammatory state in obesity

Rasheed Ahmad, Shihab Kchumon, Reeby Thomas, Munera Alghanim, Amal Hasan, Sardar Sindhu, Kazem Behbehani

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The emerging role of TLR2/4 as immuno-metabolic receptors points to key involvement of TLR/IL-1R/MyD88 pathway in obesity/type-2 diabetes (T2D). IL1R-associated kinase (IRAK)-1 is a critical adapter protein (serine/threonine kinase) of this signaling pathway. The changes in adipose tissue expression of IRAK-1 in obesity/T2D remain unclear. We determined modulations in IRAK-1 gene/protein expression in the subcutaneous adipose tissues from lean, overweight and obese individuals with or without T2D. Methods: A total of 49 non-diabetic (22 obese, 19 overweight and 8 lean) and 42 T2D (31 obese, 9 overweight and 2 lean) adipose tissue samples were obtained by abdominal subcutaneous fat pad biopsy and IRAK-1 expression was determined using real-time RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry, and confocal microscopy. IRAK-1 mRNA expression was compared with adipose tissue proinflammatory mediators (TNF-α, IL-6, IL-18), macrophage markers (CD68, CD11c, CD163), and plasma markers (CCL-5, C-reactive protein, adiponectin, and triglycerides). The data were analyzed using t test, Pearson's correlation, and multiple stepwise linear regression test. Results: In non-diabetics, IRAK-1 gene expression was elevated in obese (P = 0.01) and overweight (P = 0.04) as compared with lean individuals and this increase correlated with body mass index (r = 0.45; P = 0.001) and fat percentage (r = 0.36; P = 0.01). In diabetics, IRAK-1 mRNA expression was also higher in obese as compared with lean subjects (P = 0.012). As also shown by immunohistochemistry/confocal microscopy in non-diabetics and by immunohistochemistry in diabetics, IRAK-1 protein expression was higher in obese than overweight and lean adipose tissues. IRAK-1 gene expression correlated positively/significantly with mRNAs of TNF-α (r = 0.46; P = 0.0008), IL-6 (r = 0.30; P = 0.03) and IL-18 (r = 0.31; P = 0.028) in non-diabetics; and only with TNF-α (r = 0.32; P = 0.03) in diabetics. IRAK-1 expression also correlated positively/significantly with CD68 (r = 0.32; P = 0.02), CD11c (r = 0.30; P = 0.03), and CD163 (r = 0.43; P = 0.001) in non-diabetics; and only with CD163 (r = 0.34; P = 0.02) in diabetics. IRAK-1 mRNA levels also correlated with plasma markers including CCL-5 (r = 0.39; P = 0.02), C-reactive protein (r = 0.48; P = 0.005), adiponectin (r = -0.36; P = 0.04), and triglycerides (r = 0.40; P = 0.02) in non-diabetics; and only with triglycerides (r = -0.36; P = 0.04) in diabetics. IRAK-1 expression related with TLR2 (r = 0.39; P = 0.007) and MyD88 (r = 0.36; P = 0.01) in non-diabetics; and MyD88 (r = 0.52; P = 0.0003) in diabetics. Conclusions: The elevated IRAK-1 expression in obese adipose tissue showed consensus with local/circulatory inflammatory signatures and represented as a tissue marker for metabolic inflammation. The data have clinical significance as interventions causing IRAK-1 suppression may alleviate meta-inflammation in obesity/T2D.

Original languageEnglish
Article number71
JournalDiabetology and Metabolic Syndrome
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2015


  • Adapter protein
  • Adipose tissue
  • Interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase
  • Meta-inflammation
  • Metabolic inflammation
  • Obesity
  • TLR/IL-1R/MyD88 pathway
  • Type-2 diabetes


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