Effects of a High-Fat Diet on Adipose Tissue CD8+ T Cells in Young vs. Adult Mice
T cells are involved in chronic inflammation of adipose tissue in obese conditions. However, the impact of age on the adipose T cells remains unknown. In this study, we investigated T cells in the white adipose tissue of young and adult mice. Obesity was induced in the mice using a high-fat diet (HFD) for 14 weeks. The young mice were fed an HFD at 3 weeks old, and adult mice were fed the HFD at 12 weeks old. Relative to adult mice, the young mice gained less fat and exhibited better glucose tolerance. Their adipose tissue contained more CD8+ T cells and higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Young mice showed a larger increase in CD4+ T cells. The young and adult mice showed similar insulin tolerance. HFD reduced the colon muscle layer, which was more obvious in the young mice. These data suggested that young and adult mice exhibit different responses to an HFD in terms of adipose tissue, glucose tolerance, and the colon muscle layer. The increase in CD8+ T cells and CD4+ T cells, together with higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, suggested elevated inflammation in the presence of less fat gain in the young mice, which was unexpected. The significance of this inflammation remains unknown. We propose that inflammation might inhibit energy storage in the adipose tissue to provide more energy to the lean body mass in favor of growth in the young mice. The present study provides another example of the beneficial effect of inflammation in physiological conditions.