Matthew Lynes, PhD
Faculty Scientist I
Center for Molecular Medicine

Lynes Lab

Understanding how fat tissue develops and functions to identify novel therapeutic approaches to treat obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Obesity is a major human health problem, as it is extremely common and increases the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many other pathologies, including some forms of cancer. Research in the Lynes laboratory is aimed at understanding how changes in the balance of energy intake and energy expenditure lead to obesity.  Energy expenditure is required to maintain body temperature, and in cold environments there are myriad mechanisms that generate heat to maintain euthermia.  Thermogenic adipose tissue is a type of fat tissue in mice and humans that is specialized for heat generation by expending energy stored in the body.  Activated thermogenic adipose tissue is associated with decreased obesity and reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, making therapeutic strategies that increase the amount and activation of thermogenic fat attractive targets to improve public health.

Check out the Lynes Lab external site for additional information on the lab’s research.

Where Do Adipocytes Come From?

Everyday, adipocytes in our bodies need to be replaced by new cells in a process called adipogenesis. Adipocytes develop from cells called preadipocytes that change their cellular identity to take on the role of the mature adipocyte. Different kinds of preadipocytes live in adipose tissue, and in this movie cells that are part of a cellular lineage that express the Trpv1 gene are green, while other cellular lineages are red. The cells that makeup the long, thing green vasculature structure have acted as preadipocytes, undergoing adipogenesis to form the green fat cells on the top and bottom of the movie.

Credit for this movie belongs to B. Morrill and the authors of Shamsi et al., Nat Metab 2021.

Whole mount confocal imaging of adipose tissue from Trpv1 lineage tracing mice housed in the cold for a week. In Trpv1 lineage tracing mice, cells from the Trpv1+ vascular smooth muscle lineage express green fluorescent protein (GFP), while all other cells express membrane Tomato (tdTom) red fluorescent protein, showing the contribution of both independent lineage to the pool of mature adipocytes.

These cells were first described in Shamsi F et al., Nature Metabolism 2021. Read more

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