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Obesity and the Use of Brown Adipose Tissue as a Tool for Fat Loss in Obese Humans

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Obesity is now an epidemic in the United States and scientists must work to approach it from a unique angle. The focus of my thesis is the application of brown adipose tissue as a combatant for fat loss in the

Obesity is now an epidemic in the United States and scientists must work to approach it from a unique angle. The focus of my thesis is the application of brown adipose tissue as a combatant for fat loss in the body. Unused as adults, brown adipose tissue increases metabolism and mitochondrial function to burn more fat in individuals that cannot lose weight conventionally. Current research works to introduce safe hormonal pathways in the sympathetic nervous system to generate more of this tissue.

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2013-05

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Next-Generation Sequencing for DNA Methylation Profiling in Blood and Skeletal Muscle

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DNA methylation, a subset of epigenetics, has been found to be a significant marker associated with variations in gene expression and activity across the entire human genome. As of now, however, there is little to no information about how DNA

DNA methylation, a subset of epigenetics, has been found to be a significant marker associated with variations in gene expression and activity across the entire human genome. As of now, however, there is little to no information about how DNA methylation varies between different tissues inside a singular person's body. By using research data from a preliminary study of lean and obese clinical subjects, this study attempts to put together a profile of the differences in DNA methylation that can be observed between two particular body tissues from this subject group: blood and skeletal muscle. This study allows us to start describing the changes that occur at the epigenetic level that influence how differently these two tissues operate, along with seeing how these tissues change between individuals of different weight classes, especially in the context of the development of symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes.

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2013-12

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Towards a systems biology understanding of metabolic syndrome

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This dissertation investigates the condition of skeletal muscle insulin resistance using bioinformatics and computational biology approaches. Drawing from several studies and numerous data sources, I have attempted to uncover molecular mechanisms at multiple levels. From the detailed atomistic simulations of

This dissertation investigates the condition of skeletal muscle insulin resistance using bioinformatics and computational biology approaches. Drawing from several studies and numerous data sources, I have attempted to uncover molecular mechanisms at multiple levels. From the detailed atomistic simulations of a single protein, to datamining approaches applied at the systems biology level, I provide new targets to explore for the research community. Furthermore I present a new online web resource that unifies various bioinformatics databases to enable discovery of relevant features in 3D protein structures.

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Date Created
2013

Functional and proteome differences in skeletal muscle mitochondria between lean and obese humans

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Skeletal muscle (SM) mitochondria generate the majority of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in SM, and help regulate whole-body energy expenditure. Obesity is associated with alterations in SM mitochondria, which are unique with respect to their arrangement within cells; some mitochondria are

Skeletal muscle (SM) mitochondria generate the majority of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in SM, and help regulate whole-body energy expenditure. Obesity is associated with alterations in SM mitochondria, which are unique with respect to their arrangement within cells; some mitochondria are located directly beneath the sarcolemma (i.e., subsarcolemmal (SS) mitochondria), while other are nested between the myofibrils (i.e., intermyofibrillar (IMF) mitochondria). Functional and proteome differences specific to SS versus IMF mitochondria in obese individuals may contribute to reduced capacity for muscle ATP production seen in obesity. The overall goals of this work were to (1) isolate functional muscle SS and IMF mitochondria from lean and obese individuals, (2) assess enzyme activities associated with the electron transport chain and ATP production, (3) determine if elevated plasma amino acids enhance SS and IMF mitochondrial respiration and ATP production rates in SM of obese humans, and (4) determine differences in mitochondrial proteome regulating energy metabolism and key biological processes associated with SS and IMF mitochondria between lean and obese humans.

Polarography was used to determine functional differences in isolated SS and IMF mitochondria between lean (37 ± 3 yrs; n = 10) and obese (35 ± 3 yrs; n = 11) subjects during either saline (control) or amino acid (AA) infusions. AA infusion increased ADP-stimulated respiration (i.e., coupled respiration), non-ADP stimulated respiration (i.e., uncoupled respiration), and ATP production rates in SS, but not IMF mitochondria in lean (n = 10; P < 0.05). Neither infusion increased any of the above parameters in muscle SS or IMF mitochondria of the obese subjects.

Using label free quantitative mass spectrometry, we determined differences in proteomes of SM SS and IMF mitochondria between lean (33 ± 3 yrs; n = 16) and obese (32 ± 3 yrs; n = 17) subjects. Differentially-expressed mitochondrial proteins in SS versus IMF mitochondria of obese subjects were associated with biological processes that regulate: electron transport chain (P<0.0001), citric acid cycle (P<0.0001), oxidative phosphorylation (P<0.001), branched-chain amino acid degradation, (P<0.0001), and fatty acid degradation (P<0.001). Overall, these findings show that obesity is associated with redistribution of key biological processes within the mitochondrial reticulum responsible for regulating energy metabolism in human skeletal muscle.

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2017

Investigation of DNA methylation in obesity and its underlying insulin resistance

Description

Obesity and its underlying insulin resistance are caused by environmental and genetic factors. DNA methylation provides a mechanism by which environmental factors can regulate transcriptional activity. The overall goal of the work herein was to (1) identify alterations in DNA

Obesity and its underlying insulin resistance are caused by environmental and genetic factors. DNA methylation provides a mechanism by which environmental factors can regulate transcriptional activity. The overall goal of the work herein was to (1) identify alterations in DNA methylation in human skeletal muscle with obesity and its underlying insulin resistance, (2) to determine if these changes in methylation can be altered through weight-loss induced by bariatric surgery, and (3) to identify DNA methylation biomarkers in whole blood that can be used as a surrogate for skeletal muscle.

Assessment of DNA methylation was performed on human skeletal muscle and blood using reduced representation bisulfite sequencing (RRBS) for high-throughput identification and pyrosequencing for site-specific confirmation. Sorbin and SH3 homology domain 3 (SORBS3) was identified in skeletal muscle to be increased in methylation (+5.0 to +24.4 %) in the promoter and 5’untranslated region (UTR) in the obese participants (n= 10) compared to lean (n=12), and this finding corresponded with a decrease in gene expression (fold change: -1.9, P=0.0001). Furthermore, SORBS3 was demonstrated in a separate cohort of morbidly obese participants (n=7) undergoing weight-loss induced by surgery, to decrease in methylation (-5.6 to -24.2%) and increase in gene expression (fold change: +1.7; P=0.05) post-surgery. Moreover, SORBS3 promoter methylation was demonstrated in vitro to inhibit transcriptional activity (P=0.000003). The methylation and transcriptional changes for SORBS3 were significantly (P≤0.05) correlated with obesity measures and fasting insulin levels. SORBS3 was not identified in the blood methylation analysis of lean (n=10) and obese (n=10) participants suggesting that it is a muscle specific marker. However, solute carrier family 19 member 1 (SLC19A1) was identified in blood and skeletal muscle to have decreased 5’UTR methylation in obese participants, and this was significantly (P≤0.05) predicted by insulin sensitivity.

These findings suggest SLC19A1 as a potential blood-based biomarker for obese, insulin resistant states. The collective findings of SORBS3 DNA methylation and gene expression present an exciting novel target in skeletal muscle for further understanding obesity and its underlying insulin resistance. Moreover, the dynamic changes to SORBS3 in response to metabolic improvements and weight-loss induced by surgery.

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2017