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Joslin scientists identify process that affects fat distribution and metabolic syndrome
Date:7/2/2014

his form of lipodystrophy was also characterized by "whitening" of brown fat cells, a loss of white fat, and signs of metabolic syndrome, including insulin resistance, fat tissue inflammation, dyslipidemia (elevated cholesterol and fat), increased resting energy use, and increased markers of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers also found lower Dicer levels in the fat tissue of patients with HIV and HIV-related lipodystrophy, suggesting that low levels of Dicer expression in fat in HIV patients may contribute to the development of this syndrome, a complication which limits therapy in some people with HIV.

Together, these findings indicate an essential role for Dicer and miRNA processing in white and brown cell differentiation and whole body metabolism that may contribute to the development of HIV-related lipodystrophy. "It's good to build on our previous research on miRNA processing and Dicer in aging and find that a decline in Dicer may also play an important role in HIV lipodystrophy by dramatically changing the biology of fat and the tendency towards diabetes and metabolic syndrome," says lead author C. Ronald Kahn, MD, Chief Academic Officer at Joslin Diabetes Center and the Mary K. Iacocca Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "This research is a good example of how we go from the "bench" to the bedside and how discoveries in one area or research can lead to insights into other clinical disorders."

This research suggests that therapy with an agent that increases levels of Dicer or specific miRNA expression could be beneficial to people with metabolic syndrome. "If we could increase Dicer activity, fat tissue would have a healthier metabolism which would improve the metabolism of people being treated. It may also reduce the effects of changes in fat that cause insulin resistance and other symptoms of metabolic diseases, such as diabetes," Dr. Kahn says.

Dicer-related therapy might also help patients with HIV-rel
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Contact: Jeffrey Bright
jeff.bright@joslin.harvard.edu
Joslin Diabetes Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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