Étude du développement du tissu adipeux et des dysfonctions métaboliques liées à l'obésité

 

Mathieu Laplante

Centre de recherche de l'Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec

 

Domaine : Nutrition et métabolisme

Programme chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 2

Concours 2016-2017

Obesity prevalence is increasing in all industrialized societies. This is alarming considering the fact that this condition is closely linked to many diseases including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, liver dysfunction and some cancers. My research program focuses on two themes directly related to obesity and its related diseases. First, we are interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in early development of fat cells from adipose precursors. Despite significant progress made in recent years, the nature of the signals that inform preadipocytes to trigger the differentiation process are still unknown. In recent years, we have identified a factor that could play a key role in regulating early steps in adipogenesis. The objective of the first part of my research program is to characterize this new factor and to test its importance for adipose tissue development in vivo. A direct consequence of excessive adipose tissue accumulation is the development of non-alcoholic steato-hepatitis, a disease characterized by an excessive accumulation of fat in the liver.

The development of this pathology is closely linked to obesity and the metabolic syndrome. In recent years, it has been shown that hepatocytes accumulating lipids secrete several proteins in circulation (hepatokines) that affect systemic glucose and lipid homeostasis. Studies conducted in my laboratory led to the discovery of a new hepatokine whose expression is strongly affected in the context of obesity and hepatic lipid accumulation. The second part of my research program is to better understand the roles and functions of this protein. The global objective of my research program is to improve the understanding of the mechanisms involved in the development of obesity and its related diseases in order to generate new therapeutic avenues to improve human health.