Peripheral Adipose Tissue Protection Against Metabolic Disease

Identifying how peripheral adipose tissue protects against metabolic diseases compared to visceral adipose tissue in healthy obese persons

Full Project Name:Roles of Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue & Adiponectin on the Pathogenicity of Visceral Adipose TissuePrinciple Investigator:Srividya Kidambi, MD, MedicineCo-Investigator:Daisy Sahoo, PhD, Medicine; Jon Gould, MD, Surgery; Mingyu Liang, PhD, PhysiologyAward Amount:$200,000
Award Date
Project Duration:24 months

Project Description Narrative:

Visceral obesity with visceral adipose tissue (VAT, or central/abdominal fat) accumulation is associated with type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other diseases caused in part by inflammation. To help control and prevent these health conditions, emphasis has largely been put on weight loss. However, adipose tissue distribution in peripheral skin depots may not be as harmful as previously thought, and may, in fact, be protective.

If findings do point to this, they may suggest that "all obesity is not equal." Less emphasis could be placed on weight loss for certain individuals, and instead limited health care resources could be shifted to better control other cardiovascular risk factors that can be present independent of obesity.

Through this award, researchers aim to identify how peripheral adipose tissue (SAT, or subcutaneous fat) protects against metabolic diseases compared to visceral adipose tissue (VAT, or central/abdominal fat) in healthy obese persons, resulting in lower rates of metabolic diseases, such as diabetes.

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:

• Enabled research team to identify innovations in obesity treatment by suggesting that not all fat is equal and that adipose tissue distribution determines the contribution of obesity to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk

• Recruited 55 subjects to participate in the study

• Made progress in completing the sequencing for small molecules called microRNAs that control other genes

• Documented preliminary research findings showing differences in expression of 46 molecules between visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue depots.

• Identified three microRNAs associated with a protective hormone secreted by fat tissue called adiponectin. Of these, researchers picked four molecules (miRs 33b, 199a, 141, and 142a) to further test their association with metabolic pathways and ultimately their role in obesity-related diseases

• Identified seven microRNAs changed in relation to a subject's body mass index

• Began further research to learn more about the metabolic pathways and their association with obesity-related diseases

• Conducted three presentations

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