MMIC Director Martin Torriani, in a study funded by the Harvard Center for AIDS Research, set out to investigate adipose tissue in HIV patients. HIV patients are at an increased risk for cardiometabolic disease secondary to depot-specific alterations in adipose function, but mechanisms remain poorly understood. The endoribonuclease Dicer has been linked to the modulation of brown and white adipocyte differentiation. We previously demonstrated that Dicer knockout mice undergo transformation of brown adipose tissue to white adipose tissue and develop a lipodystrophic phenotype. We hypothesized reduced Dicer and brown adipose tissue gene expression from nonlipomatous sc fat among HIV patients with a lipodystrophic phenotype. Our results demonstrate dysfunctional sc adipose tissue marked by reduced Dicer in relationship to the down-regulation of brown and beige fat-related genes in lipodystrophic HIV patients and may provide a novel mechanism for metabolic dysregulation. A strategy to increase browning of white adipose tissue may improve cardiometabolic health in HIV. Read the full paper here.
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