Obesity is a serious global health problem and a risk factor for diseases such as type II diabetes, heart disease and fatty liver disease. A central element in the development of obesity is adipose tissue, which comprises fat cells (so-called adipocytes, specialized to store fat) and macrophages (immune system scavenger cells, which are typically associated with the destruction of microbes).
Together with researchers from Poland, Germany, Australia and Austria, a team of MedUni Vienna scientists has now discovered the signaling pathways responsible for the development of a valuable type of adipose tissue macrophage (ATM) in obesity, which prevents lipotoxicity. Lipotoxicity is the process whereby fat molecules are deposited in non-adipose tissues. This study has now been published in the top journal Nature Metabolism.