Testosterone induces cell proliferation and cell cycle gene overexpression in human visceral preadipocytes

Anna Barbosa-Desongles, Cristina Hernández, Rafael Simó, David M. Selva

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25 Citations (Scopus)


Evidence from the literature suggests that testosterone plays an important role in visceral fat accumulation since both men and women with hyperandrogenism accumulate more adipose tissue in the abdominal cavity than healthy women. However, the underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated. To shed light on this issue, we have used an in vitro approach to examine the effect of testosterone on human visceral preadipocyte proliferation. Our results showed that testosterone treatment significantly increased proliferation of human visceral preadipocytes in proliferation assays using flow cytometric analysis. We next performed a microarray gene expression analysis of human visceral preadipocytes treated with testosterone or vehicle to identify which genes were involved in the testosterone-induced increase in preadipocyte proliferation. The results showed a total of 140 genes differentially expressed between testosterone vs. vehicle. Among the top 10 upregulated genes, 5 were involved in cellular cycle and proliferation, and 3 (APOBEC3b, CCNA2, and PRC1) were significantly overexpressed by testosterone treatment when analyzed by real-time PCR. We conclude that testosterone exerts a proliferative effect on preadipocytes that may participate in the sex differences in fat distribution and that it may explain visceral fat accumulation in women with hyperandrogenism. © 2013 the American Physiological Society.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013


  • Cell cycle
  • Gene expression
  • Human preadipocytes
  • Proliferation
  • Testosterone


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