Thymic stromal lymphopoietin induces adipose loss through sebum hypersecretion

Ruth Choa, Junichiro Tohyama, Shogo Wada, Hu Meng, Jian Hu, Mariko Okumura, Rebecca M. May, Tanner F. Robertson, Ruth Anne Langan Pai, Arben Nace, Christian Hopkins, Elizabeth A. Jacobsen, Malay Haldar, Garret A. FitzGerald, Edward M. Behrens, Andy J. Minn, Patrick Seale, George Cotsarelis, Brian Kim, John T. SeykoraMingyao Li, Zoltan Arany, Taku Kambayashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Emerging studies indicate that the immune system can regulate systemic metabolism. Here, we show that thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) stimulates T cells to induce selective white adipose loss, which protects against obesity, improves glucose metabolism, and mitigates nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Unexpectedly, adipose loss was not caused by alterations in food intake, absorption, or energy expenditure. Rather, it was induced by the excessive loss of lipids through the skin as sebum. TSLP and T cells regulated sebum release and sebum-associated antimicrobial peptide expression in the steady state. In human skin, TSLP expression correlated directly with sebum-associated gene expression. Thus, we establish a paradigm in which adipose loss can be achieved by means of sebum hypersecretion and uncover a role for adaptive immunity in skin barrier function through sebum secretion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereabd2893
Issue number6554
StatePublished - Jul 30 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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