“Fat-muscle signaling: the good, the bad and the beige”
Abstract: Adipose accumulation in and around muscles is a pervasive feature of muscle pathology. It has been extensively documented in humans with chronic rotator cuff tears, obesity, type 2 diabetes and muscular dystrophy where, across disorders, it is associated with reduced muscle strength and poor functional outcomes. However, the mechanism for this association remains undefined and at present there exist no effective therapies to reduce fat accumulation once it has developed. This presentation will discuss recent advances in measuring, modeling and manipulating fat accumulation in muscle injury and disease. Our work supports a direct link between fat accumulation and muscle contractile deficits that we hypothesize to be mediated by paracrine secreted adipokines. In-vivo, the secreted adipokine profile is neither uniform nor static, but varies with fat phenotype and environmental stimuli. Muscle-associated fat exhibits features of beige fat, a phenotype with high plasticity. Our work explores the potential for novel phenotype-directed therapies to modify the secreted adipokine profile and remodel fat-muscle signaling to promote muscle growth and functional recovery.
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