Acute effects of active breaks during prolonged sitting on subcutaneous adipose tissue gene expression: an ancillary analysis of a randomised controlled trial Academic Article uri icon


  • Active breaks in prolonged sitting has beneficial impacts on cardiometabolic risk biomarkers. The molecular mechanisms include regulation of skeletal muscle gene and protein expression controlling metabolic, inflammatory and cell development pathways. An active communication network exists between adipose and muscle tissue, but the effect of active breaks in prolonged sitting on adipose tissue have not been investigated. This study characterized the acute transcriptional events induced in adipose tissue by regular active breaks during prolonged sitting. We studied 8 overweight/obese adults participating in an acute randomized three-intervention crossover trial. Interventions were performed in the postprandial state and included: (i) prolonged uninterrupted sitting; or prolonged sitting interrupted with 2-minute bouts of (ii) light- or (iii) moderate-intensity treadmill walking every 20 minutes. Subcutaneous adipose tissue biopsies were obtained after each condition. Microarrays identified 36 differentially expressed genes between the three conditions (fold change ≥0.5 in either direction; p < 0.05). Pathway analysis indicated that breaking up of prolonged sitting led to differential regulation of adipose tissue metabolic networks and inflammatory pathways, increased insulin signaling, modulation of adipocyte cell cycle, and facilitated cross-talk between adipose tissue and other organs. This study provides preliminary insight into the adipose tissue regulatory systems that may contribute to the physiological effects of interrupting prolonged sitting.


  • Grace, Megan S
  • Formosa, Melissa F
  • Bozaoglu, Kiymet
  • Bergouignan, Audrey
  • Brozynska, Marta
  • Carey, Andrew L
  • Veiga, Camilla Bertuzzo
  • Sethi, Parneet
  • Dillon, Francis
  • Bertovic, David A
  • Inouye, Michael
  • Owen, Neville
  • Dunstan, David W
  • Kingwell, Bronwyn A

publication date

  • 2019