Fellow: Nolwenn Joffin, PhD
Institution: UT Southwestern, Touchstone Diabetes Center
Principal Investigator: Philipp E. Scherer, PhD
LF Funding History: 2017 Postdoctoral Fellowship and Independent Fellow Award
Hypothesis: We hypothesize that fat tissue isolated from lipedema patients will display unique characteristics compared to unaffected control fat tissue.
Current LF Collaborations: Dr. Karen Herbst, University or Arizona
Related Links: Scherer Lab
Project: Phenotypic Analysis of Adipose Tissue
The adipocyte, or fat cell, is critical for maintaining healthy systemic and fat tissue metabolism. A number of other cell types also contribute to the cellular architecture of healthy fat tissue, enabling the tissue to increase in size, as we see in obesity, or decrease, as observed during fasting. For example, these support cells include endothelial cells that make up blood vessels and a host of immune cells. Altogether, these cell types give rise to a tissue with remarkable flexibility with respect to expansion and contraction, optimizing the ability of fat tissue to act as an endocrine organ. We hypothesize that fat tissue isolated from lipedema patients will display unique characteristics compared to unaffected control fat tissue.
Given our laboratory’s expertise in fat tissue biology, we aim to determine a number of parameters of lipedema tissue, such as basic architecture, cellular and metabolic profile, and hormonal fingerprint. Identified targets will then be assessed in a rodent model. As future therapeutic approaches will depend on a detailed molecular understanding of lipedema tissue, our planned histological and gene expression analysis will shed light on critical questions, such as the inflammatory state and secreted adipokines in the affected tissue.