Characterization of adipose progenitor cell abundance and function in healthy and obesity-related adipose tissue accumulation in children (Dr. Kathrin Landgraf-Kluge)
Obesity is characterized by the accumulation of fat mass and is often associated with adipose tissue (AT) dys-function and metabolic impairment. Expansion of AT can be achieved by an increase in adipocyte number (hyperplasia) or an increase in adipocyte size (hypertrophy) or the combination of both. Recently, the adipose progenitor cell compartment has been proposed to play an important role in healthy and obesity-related AT expansion and to be pharmacologically accessible for obesity treatment strategies.
However, the regulation of the involved processes remains only poorly understood. In this regard, studies in children are of special value since adipose progenitor cell abundance and function can be addressed during both healthy AT accumulation with normal development and unhealthy AT accumulation in the obese state. We hypothesize that alterations in the abundance and/or the function of adipose progenitor cells are already evident at early childhood age and contribute to the pathogenesis of obesity and related comorbidities in children. Within this project we will characterize the presence and function of adipose progenitor cells in AT samples of children. Furthermore, we will identify novel regulators of adipose progenitor cell function and characterize their role in adipose progenitor proliferation and differentiation.