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ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Research Project #426347

Research Project: Developmental Determinants of Obesity in Infants and Children

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Project Number: 3092-51000-059-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 23, 2014
End Date: Mar 3, 2019

1)Using mouse model with GHS-R knockout in macrophages, characterize body composition, metabolic & functional characteristics, inflammatory profile, thermogenic phenotype, to see if GHS-R has role in regulation of diet-induced obesity, inflammation, insulin resistance; 2)study macrophage phenotypic switch, inflammation, insulin sensitivity in insulin target tissues; 3)define GHS-R regulated signaling cascades that mediate inflammatory signaling in macrophages, & affected signaling pathways in fat tissues; 4)determine if ghrelin is involved in regulation of gluconeogenesis, if gluconeogenesis regulation operates via ghrelin receptors; 5) [removed due to investigator departure]; 6)investigate if obesity-induced adipose hypoxia up-regulates PU.1 expression in cultured adipocytes or in mouse fat tissue; 7)see if adipocyte-specific knockout of PU.1 protects mice against high-fat diet induced adipose inflammation & systemic insulin resistance; 8)characterize role of Hedgehog (Hh) pathway in development of white fat tissues by examining effect of Hh pathway activation on differentiation of preadipocyte cells; 9)characterize effect of adipocyte-specific activation of Hh pathway on diet-induced obesity & metabolic syndrome using mice carrying elevated Hh pathway activity in white adipocytes to examine if Hh pathway activation can prevent obesity & metabolic syndrome; 10)determine if nutritional programming of body weight regulation occurs by inducing specific alterations in hypothalamic DNA methylation; 11)establish if DNA methylation controls selective gene activation & silencing at distinct stages of intestinal epithelial stem cell development; 12)study diet during critical developmental period to assess if it affects epigenetic mechanisms in intestinal epithelial stem cells to modulate their lifelong role in self-renewal & differentiation; 13)identify epigenetic marks on specific genes in children of mothers with pregestational diagnosis of type 1/2 diabetes; 14)determine if serotonin 5-HT2C receptors expressed by dopamine neurons are required and/or sufficient to prevent binge eating, obesity & glucose intolerance; 15)identify estrogen receptor alpha sites in the brain that provide redundant mechanisms to regulate glucose balance & body weight; 16)determine if administration of vitamin D3 into the CNS affects glucose homeostasis & weight gain; 17)develop transgenic mouse to investigate effects of acute and chronic administration of vitamin D3 into CNS on glucose metabolism & weight gain; 18) [removed due to investigator departure]; 19) [removed due to investigator departure]; 20)determine the roles of genetically defined PBN microcircuits in differential control of feeding behavior & energy metabolism; 21)determine the roles of key GABA receptor subunits expressed in distinct PBN microcircuits for the regulation of appetite.

These research studies will use various techniques to accomplish the research to be undertaken. Research scientists will conduct phenotypic characterization of LysM-Cre; Ghsr mice to assess the overall metabolic profile and thermogenic phenotype. Using mouse models, we will determine if acyl ghrelin is a primary regulator of hepatic gluconeogenesis and if growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R1a) is a requirement for ghrelin action; as well as determine the effects on hepatic glucose production and feeding behavior of: a) [removed due to investigator departure], b) melanocortin receptor 4 activation in the brainstem dorsal vagal complex (DVC), and c) the influence of GLP-2 in the brainstem DVC. Additional studies will have our researchers investigate if obesity-induced adipose hypoxia is responsible for stimulating adipocyte PU.1 expression and explore if deletion of PU.1 in adipocytes protects mice against high fat diet-induced adipose inflammation and insulin resistance. Scientists will examine the effect of Hedgehog (Hh) signaling on the differentiation of white preadipocytes derived from human subcutaneous and visceral fat depots and also investigate if adipocyte-specific activation of Hh signaling will prevent diet-induced weight gain and improve metabolic abnormalities. Epigeneticists will determine if the persistent effects of postnatal overnutrition on body weight regulation are mediated by induced cell-type specific epigenetic changes in the hypothalamus. They will use intestinal epithelial stem cells isolated at distinct developmental time-points to identify genomic loci that undergo developmentally programmed changes in DNA methylation and investigate the feasibility of epigenomic biomarker discovery in human infants of diabetic mothers and diabetic embryopathy. The resulting data will be used to assess the distribution of class correlations, classifier sensitivity and specificity, positive and negative predictive value, and specific gene content for pathway analysis. Researchers will generate mouse models that either lack 5-HT2CRs selectively in dopamine neurons or express 5- HT2CRs only in dopamine neurons. Examine if these manipulations in mice alter susceptibility to develop eating disorders, obesity and glucose intolerance. Pediatricians will test if central vitamin D3 administration can prevent diet-induced obesity. Researchers will also investigate the mechanisms by which obesity negatively alters the metabolism and bioavailability of nutrients and other bioactives. Studies performed in animals and in cell culture will elucidate the role of specific processes that contribute to the development of obesity and obesity-related disorders.