Rab4b Deficiency in T Cells Promotes Adipose Treg/Th17 Imbalance, Adipose Tissue Dysfunction, and Insulin Resistance

Gilleron J, Bouget G, Ivanov S, Meziat C, Ceppo F, Vergoni B, Djedaini M, Soprani A, Dumas K, Jacquel A, Yvan-Charvet L, Venteclef N, Tanti JF, Cormont M

Cell Rep 2018 Dec;25(12):3329-3341.e5


PMID: 30566860

Obesity modifies T cell populations in adipose tissue, thereby contributing to adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance. Here, we show that Rab4b, a small GTPase governing endocytic trafficking, is pivotal in T cells for the development of these pathological events. Rab4b expression is decreased in adipose T cells from mice and patients with obesity. The specific depletion of Rab4b in T cells causes adipocyte hypertrophy and insulin resistance in chow-fed mice and worsens insulin resistance in obese mice. This phenotype is driven by an increase in adipose Th17 and a decrease in adipose Treg due to a cell-autonomous skew of differentiation toward Th17. The Th17/Treg imbalance initiates adipose tissue inflammation and reduces adipogenesis, leading to lipid deposition in liver and muscles. Therefore, we propose that the obesity-induced loss of Rab4b in adipose T cells may contribute to maladaptive white adipose tissue remodeling and insulin resistance by altering adipose T cell fate.