Nutritional Immunology and Inflammation
Objectives : Macrophage polarization into pro-inflammatory M1 status is associated with the pathologic progression of adipose remodeling, while M2 polarization is linked with the resolution of inflammation. Urolithin A (UroA) is a gut metabolite derived from ellagic acid found in berries and nuts. Emerging evidence suggests UroA exerts anti-inflammatory function, but the underlying mechanism remains unknown. This study aims to test the hypothesis that UroA attenuates adipose inflammation by promoting M2 macrophage polarization.
Methods : To investigate the direct role of UroA in vitro, primary bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) were stimulated with LPS for M1 polarization or IL-4/IL-13 for M2 polarization. Oxygen consumption rate was determined in BMDM by Seahorse extracellular flux analyzer. The anti-inflammatory role of UroA is validated by pro-IL-1β Gaussia luciferase (iGLuc) reporter assay and IL-1β secretion in J774 macrophages. Additionally, C57BL/6 mice were fed with a HF diet for 12 weeks along with UroA administration. The M1/M2 polarization status were examined in adipose tissue macrophages (ATM) and peritoneal macrophages by qPCR and protein markers.
Results : UroA treatment in BMDM in vitro significantly decreased Il-1β (p< 0.001), while increasing M2 markers of Arg1, Ch313 and Mgl2 (P< 0.01). UroA treatment suppressed NLRP3 inflammasome activation in J774 macrophages by decreasing iGLuc activity and IL-1β secretion in a dose-dependent manner. In vivo, UroA administration reduced HF-induced adipocyte hypertrophy, inflammatory markers, and ATM recruitment (p< 0.01) in the adipose tissue. Consistently, UroA suppressed M1 polarization but switched to M2 polarization in peritoneal macrophages, evidenced by decreased M1 signature genes of Cd11c, Tnf-α, Il-6, and Il-1β (p< 0.01), while elevated M2 markers of Ch313 and Mgl2 (p< 0.05). Lastly, UroA not only inhibits HF-driven pathogenic remodeling of adipose tissue, but also promote mitochondrial function and biogenesis.
Conclusions : UroA attenuates HF-driven pathologic remodeling of adipose tissue by favoring M2 macrophage polarization and augmenting mitochondrial function. Intake of UroA-producing foods may be a promising intervention strategy to mitigate obesity-mediated chronic inflammation and metabolic dysfunction.
Funding Sources : United States Department of Agriculture National Institute for Food and Agriculture