White adipose tissue has been reimagined as being capable of interacting with a wide range of biological and metabolic processes. These changes, in turn, are linked to metabolic diseases, including type 2. Diabetes.
Researchers at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have created an atlas of cell types present in humans and mice, allowing them to look at fat composition in unprecedented detail. The findings, published in the journal Nature, have uncovered the foundations for future studies into body weight, metabolism, and disease.
According to Evan D. Rosen, the head of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism at BIDMC, we provide an initial blueprint for a comprehensive set of interactions between individual cell types in white adipose tissue. We provide a broad set of insights that help identify other disease-associated cell types and improve the ability to interpret genetic research related to metabolic disease.
The team studied cell types in adipose tissue, which was divided from men and women, and weighed a wide range of body weight. Because adipose tissue has different properties depending on where it is located, they measured fat from the skin as well as from inside the body cavity (visceral fat). These findings were able to show that the composition of fat differs from the other depots, resulting in significant improvements in obesity.
Because many adipose tissue research uses mice as a model, the Rosens team also produced a mouse adipose atlas, again looking at males and females, lean and obese, and visceral and subcutaneous fat. In general, mouse adipose tissue was quite similar to human, but there were a few big differences.
Our study provides a baseline for mouse-human comparison in adipose tissue analysis, which will be an essential resource for scientists interested in converting mouse findings to human therapies. Rosen, a professor of medicine at Harvard, believes that our analysis provides a deeper understanding of white adipose tissue biology and facilitates an examination of its significance in health and disease.