Adipocyte Dysfunction as a Cause of Obesity-Induced Pathophysiologies: Accelerated Cellular Impairments in Individuals of South Asian Descent

At similar levels of obesity, individuals of South Asian descent (SA) are at greater risk than individuals of European Caucasian (EC) descent for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and cardiovascular diseases (CVD). We hypothesize that in SA individuals, the morphology and functions of individual fat cells within fat tissue are altered, such that they are enlarged, inflamed and express altered levels of proteins called adipokines, which induce insulin resistance at other body organs, leading to T2DM and CVD. Here, we wish to determine in fat cells obtained via needle biopsies from the abdomen of SA and EC individuals at different degrees of obesity (100 in all): (1) size parameters (2) the cellular signaling systems leading to altered inflammation and adipokine expression. Overall, we intend to elucidate the mechanisms leading to accelerated T2DM and CVD in South Asians, which will potentially aid in the development of T2DM and CVD therapies.

Michelle Melone
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Shirya Rashid