Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Beijing, P.R. China
| obesity|| adipose tissue|
| adipokines|| metabolic syndrome|
| insulin resistance|
With an escalating global epidemic of overweight/obesity and increasing realization of importance of adipose tissue in regulating metabolic homeostasis, interest in studying adipose tissue function is rising. Brown adipose tissue (BAT) which is the main site of nonshivering thermogenesis in mammals contains numerous highly oxidative, naturally uncoupled mitochondria that dissipate energy as heat. In addition, there is another subtype of beige colored adipocytes located in the anatomical sites characteristic of white adipose tissue provoked by prolonged cold exposure or adrenergic signaling, showing some similarities of classic brown fat such as thermogenesis. The identification of metabolic active BAT in human adults and indication that BAT activity may be negatively associated with obesity lead to rising interest in BAT biology and therapeutic potentials against obesity and associated metabolic disorders.
The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-like serine/threonine protein kinase that controls adipogenesis, lipogenesis, lipolysis and many other important biological processes according to intracellular and extracellular cues- growth factors, amino acids, energy status, stress and oxygen. We are interested in the novel regulatory mechanism underlying insulin and mTOR signaling in regulation of brown adipose tissue differentiation, activation and function. We are also interested in the paracrine and autocrine functions of adipokines, such as adiponectin, in the brown adipose tissue. We believe these novel molecular mechanisms will help us better understanding the function of adipose tissue and development of potential therapeutic strategies that promote energy expenditure and fight obesity and associated metabolic disorders.
Accomplishments, Awards and Honors
Outstanding Scientific Research Award - National Population and Family Planning Commission - June, 2011
Delhanty PJD, van der Lely AJ (eds): How Gut and Brain Control Metabolism - Front Horm Res. Basel, Karger, 2014, vol 42, pp 134-146
Cai, H., Maudsley, S. and Martin, B.
Cai, H., McNeilly, A. Luttrell, LM, and Martin, B. (2012) Endocrine function in aging Int J Endocrinol. 2012:872478