This study investigates whether exposure to allergen elicits insulin resistance as a result of adipose tissue inflammation. Male C57BL/6 mice were challenged with ovalbumin (OVA) allergen for 12 weeks, and blood and adipose tissue samples were collected at 24 h after the last challenge. Levels of adhesion molecules, fasting insulin, fasting glucose, and adipokines in the blood were analyzed, and fasting homeostasis model assessment was applied to determine insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). The expression of pro- and anti-inflammatory genes in dissected adipose tissues was analyzed by real-time RT-PCR. Our results showed that OVA exposure increased insulin resistance as well as resistin and E-selectin, but reduced adiponectin in the serum. Resistin level was significantly correlated with HOMA-IR. Moreover, in adipose tissues of OVA-challenged mice, the pro-inflammatory M1 genes were more abundant while the anti-inflammatory M2 genes were less than those of PBS-treated mice. The expressional changes of both M1 and M2 genes were significantly associated with serum levels of adiponectin, resistin, and E-selectin. Hematoxylin and eosin (HE) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) stain also showed that there was more obvious inflammation in OVA-challenged mice. In conclusion, the current study suggests the relationship between allergen-elicited adipose tissue inflammation and circulating inflammatory molecules, which are possible mediators for the development of insulin resistance. Therefore, we propose that allergen exposure might be one risk factor for insulin resistance.
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