Hormones

Role of circulating AFABP in metabolic and vascular function in obesity (Prof. Dr. Mathias Fasshauer)

Circulating levels of the adipokine adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein (AFABP) are independently associated with obesity and might contribute to obesity-related insulin resistance and premature atherosclerosis. Within the project, obese, leptin-deficient, and atherosclerosis-prone mice are treated with a neutralizing AFABP antibody, a total AFABP inhibitor, and recombinant leptin alone and in combination. Relative effects of these adipokine-based treatment modalities on metabolic disease, atherosclerotic lesion area and composition, as well as macrophage function, are elucidated. These studies will define whether circulating AFABP is a useful therapeutic target for metabolic and vascular disease in obesity.

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Role of calcium-induced NLRP3 activation in obesity-induced inflammationer (Prof. Dr. Ulf Wagner, completed)

The scientists in this project examine how the inflammatory reactions typically occurring in obese patients are associated with calcium in the human body and with calcium receptors (G-protein coupled receptor) on mac-rophages (of the immune system). Therefore, the calcium concentration in the visceral and the subcutaneous adipose tissue is being measured and above all in areas of increased inflammation and cell destruction (apoptosis).

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Role of environmental compounds and epigenetics in human adipose tissue dysfunction (ExpoEpiG) (Prof. Dr. Matthias Blüher, completed)

Persons with obesity often develop dysfunctions of the adipose tissue which affect health. Their adipose tissue contains enlarged fat cells, inflammation cells intrude into the fatty tissue and the visceral fat accumulates. The triggers for these dysfunctions are mostly unknown. Therefore, in this study it is being investigated, how pesticides and plasticizers in foods and in the environment get into the human adipose tissue and whether they contribute to the dysfunctions of the adipose tissue.

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The role of the kidney in adipokine physiology (Prof. Dr. Mathias Fasshauer)

The production and effect of various hormones of the adipose tissue (adipokines) is impaired in adiposity. This is often associated with diseases of the large blood vessels (atherosclerosis or macroangiopathy). It has not been examined yet, if the small blood vessels are also affected (microangiopathy). Among others, a micro-angiopathy leads to an aggravation of the kidney function – as often observed in type-2-diabetes. This study examines in animal models if the adipokine levels are increased in chronic or acute kidney weakness and if adipokines are discharged by the kidneys.

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Role of the thyroid hormonal system in the hypothalamic mediation of food intake and energy homeostasis (Dr. Wiebke Kristin Fenske, completed)

Thyroid hormones (T3/T4) regulate the energy balance / homeostasis of the body. For example, T3 increases the energy consumption and the intake of food. This study examines whether T3 leads to an increased intake of food due to its influence on certain brain regions (hypothalamus) or if this is only a consequence of the higher energy consumption. The effect of T3 is tested in detail in animal models. The animals develop overweight due to excessive eating. The influence of that hormone on the food intake and thus the bodyweight could be a starting point for future adiposity therapies.

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Losing weight is hard – but keeping it is harder! Understanding the central metabolic mechanisms of post-dieting weight regain and their modifications by Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery in a rodent model of diet-induced obesity (Dr. W. Fenske, compl.)

Most of the overweight people regain their lost kilos after a weight reduction within a year. Often they regain even formerly (yo-yo effect). After a surgical adiposity treatment there is no yo-yo effect. In the regulation of energy consumption and intake, the hormone leptin seems crucial. The researchers of this study examine how the effect of leptin and other hormones and the energy balance is different in the conservative and operative way of losing weight. The biological mechanisms are scrutinized which lead to a sustained weight loss.

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The role of macrophages in the secretion and physiology of the adipokine adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein (Prof. Dr. Mathias Fasshauer, completed)

The level of a specific fatty tissue hormone, the so-called Adipocyte Fatty Acid-Binding Protein (AFABP), is increased in the blood of obese people. This leads to a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and arteriosclerosis. Besides fat cells also specific immune cells (macrophages) produce AFABP. This study examines for the first time, if AFABP is released actively by macrophages into the blood circulation and if circulating AFABP affects the function of macrophages. The researchers examine if AFABP emitted by macrophages contributes to metabolic or cardiovascular diseases and whether this may be a working point for future obesity therapies.

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Satiety peptides for treatment of obesity (Prof. Dr. Annette G. Beck-Sickinger, completed)

With the help of cell culture studies and animal models the researchers synthesize gastro-intestinal peptide hormones and try to influence the feeling of hunger and satiety with these hormones. The hypothesis is, that adipose persons have a dysfunction of hormones, which are responsible for the sense of hunger and satiety. Therefore, hormones are being altered in the laboratory in a way so that the feeling of hunger and satiety works again as in healthy persons.

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