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Status: 22.02.2018 12:16:31
Research into the fundamental molecular mechanisms of obesity development and associated metabolic diseases.
Excess energy is mainly stored in white adipose tissue, resulting in overweight. Obesity (pathological overweight) is a key risk factor for metabolic disease, including cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes as well as neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Brown adipose tissue (in contrast to white adipose tissue) has a remarkable capacity to dissipate energy in the form of heat. Recent studies have shown that metabolically active brown adipose tissue is not only present in infants but, importantly, also in adult humans, making it a potential target for preventive treatment of obesity and other diseases associated with the metabolic syndrome.
The Department of Adipocyte Development and Nutrition, supported by the German Research Foundation and the European Research Council, investigates the developmental mechanisms that direct the formation of brown and white adipocytes (fat cells). It aims to examine aging-related changes in adipose tissue homeostasis. The molecular mechanisms that cause a decrease in brown adipose tissue mass and function with increased age, thereby favoring the development of obesity, are to be deciphered with mouse models and in vitro cell culture approaches. The following strategies are used:
• Flow-cytometric analysis of adipogenic stem cell and progenitor cell populations in brown and white adipose tissue
• Generation of transgenic mouse models in order to identify the mechanisms involved in adipose tissue development
• Examination of extracellular signals regulating the differentiation potential of adipogenic stem cell populations