The Sunday afternoon symposium New Angles in Adipose Biology will include a look at lipolysis in human adipose tissue. The two-hour symposium begins at 4:30 p.m. in room W209.
Michael D. Jensen, MD, Director of the Department of Medicine Obesity Treatment Research Program at Mayo Clinic, will examine the regulation of adipose tissue lipolysis from the whole-body level down to the depot, cellular, and molecular levels during his presentation, one of four scheduled for the symposium.
Dr. Jensen will review the characteristics of patients who have dysregulation of adipose tissue fuel export and explore how the condition could be responsible for many of the health problems associated with diabetes and obesity. In his lab at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Jensen and his research colleagues are investigating the specific depots involved. The researchers are also examining the role of inflammatory cells in abnormal lipolysis regulation and whether upstream disruptions in insulin signaling are responsible. Dr. Jensen started these studies about 30 years ago at the whole-body level.
“There were a lot of false leads and detours, but I think that we’re probably three to five years from achieving a pretty good molecular understanding of what’s going on and, if so, opening up some new therapeutic targets to improve health,” Dr. Jensen said. “Obviously, the best way to improve health is to not become obese, but we don’t seem to be doing terribly well on that front.”
To help attendees visualize his research, Dr. Jensen will share new confocal microscopy findings of how the proteins within fat cells behave under conditions where lipolysis is being regulated.
Because visceral fat is closely correlated with the health risks of obesity, there has been a longstanding assumption that visceral fat is responsible for the majority of abnormal fuel metabolism and obesity. But Dr. Jensen said his studies have clearly shown that not to be true. While it is associated, it’s not causal, he said.
“Our publication that we believe definitively disproved this idea came out about 10 years ago, but I still see lots of review papers that focus almost exclusively on the directly harmful effects of visceral fat,” he said.
Another misconception that Dr. Jensen will address is the emphasis on the role of inflammation in adipose tissue. New studies from his group and others suggest that the inflammation is not the cause of abnormal fuel metabolism, he said.
Also during the session, Matthew Steinhauser, MD, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, will present “Adipocyte Turnover, Aging, and Insulin Resistance.” David E. James, PhD, from the University of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia, will present “Phosphoproteomic Analysis of Insulin Resistant Adipocytes,” and Sonia M. Najjar, PhD, of Ohio University, will present “CEACAM1 along the Adipocyte-Hepatocyte Axis and Systemic Metabolism.”