Fredrik Karpe’s group is doing research human adipose tissue function and metabolic consequences of obesity. With increasing rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes, this is an area of unmet clinical need. We are intrigued by strong epidemiological data suggesting opposite associations between the risk of both diabetes and cardiovascular disease vs. upper and lower body obesity. The current research line aims to clarify protective role of gluteofemoral adipose tissue and the metabolically detrimental role of abdominal adipose tissue by studying the tissues at both cellular and whole body level. If one could impose the specialized features of gluteofemoral fat to other tissues, this may lead to interesting new therapeutic approaches.
Human whole body physiological studies are supported by a dedicated mass spectrometry unit where metabolic tracers (stable-isotope labelled fatty acids and other molecules) are analysed.
Work on human adipocytes allows for mechanistic dissection of function: we are here using siRNA, studies of epigenetic markers and microRNA to separate the functional characteristics of different adipocyte subtypes.
Translational work is also much supported by the Oxford Biobank established by the PI in 2001. This currently includes just over 6,500 healthy population-based 30-50 year old men and women resident in Oxfordshire. Participants have consented to be re-approached for a “recruit-by-genotype” participation in physiological studies of complex intermediary phenotypes.