Adipose tissue expandability and the distribution of stored fat in the body are stronger predictors of health risk. A better understanding of the factors that determine regional fat mass growth may lead to developing new strategies for prevention or treatment of metabolic complications of obesity. The objective of this proposal is to study the responsiveness of lower- body fat mass, the inflammatory state of upper-body fat, ectopic fat, and insulin resistance to adipogenic stimulation in upper-body obese (UBO) women waist-to hip ratio (WHR) >0.85 and lower-body obese (LBO) women with WHR <0.75. Adipogenesis will be stimulated using pioglitazone (Pio). The hypothesis is that in UBO;adipogenesis in femoral fat is impaired, which leads to ectopic fat deposition, promoting insulin resistance. On the other hand, the ScA depot in UBO undergoes hypertrophy, leading to a chronic inflammatory state of the adipose tissue and consequential insulin resistance.
Our specific aims are to test that:
Aim 1. Impaired adipogenesis in the Sc fat of UBO women contributes to impaired adipogenesis in UBO women and to a) Limited leg fat expandability, which promotes insulin resistance via ectopic fat deposition;and b) The inflammatory response of upper-body fat which contributes to insulin resistance via inflammatory adipokines.;
Aim 2. Cellular senescence contributes to impaired adipogenesis in UBO women and to identify candidate intrinsic or environmental factors that cause the depot-specific adipogenic regulation. UBO and LBO women (30 each) will be treated with Pio or placebo for 16 weeks. The adipocyte progenitor number, adipogenesis, the morphology and inflammatory response of adipose tissue, and systemic glycemic control will be determined before, during, and after the intervention. Distribution of fat in fat depots and ectopic sites will be measured. Stromal vascular cultures will be employed to assess preadipocyte kinetics in ScA and Sc femoral (ScF) fat depots and the mechanisms of their regulation. We will also assess in vivo Sc regional adipogenesis by measuring incorporation of deuterium (D) from D2O drinking water into the DNA of plastic adherent stroma-vascular (SV) cells by determining their fractional replacement (fSV cells).

Public Health Relevance

The body shape of obese women varies between having the majority of fat either above the waist (""""""""apple"""""""" shape) or below the waist (""""""""pear"""""""" shape). We will study what restricts """"""""apple""""""""-shaped women from being """"""""pear""""""""-shaped at the cellular level. Since """"""""pear""""""""-shaped women tend to have better health;this study will open the door to future research in regulating body shape and thus improving health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Clinical and Integrative Diabetes and Obesity Study Section (CIDO)
Program Officer
Haft, Carol R
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Lsu Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Organized Research Units
Baton Rouge
United States
Zip Code
White, Ursula A; Fitch, Mark D; Beyl, Robbie A et al. (2018) Racial differences in in vivo adipose lipid kinetics in humans. J Lipid Res 59:1738-1744
White, Ursula A; Fitch, Mark D; Beyl, Robbie A et al. (2017) Association of In Vivo Adipose Tissue Cellular Kinetics With Markers of Metabolic Health in Humans. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 102:2171-2178
White, Ursula A; Fitch, Mark D; Beyl, Robbie A et al. (2016) Differences in In Vivo Cellular Kinetics in Abdominal and Femoral Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue in Women. Diabetes 65:1642-7
White, Ursula A; Tchoukalova, Yourka D (2014) Sex dimorphism and depot differences in adipose tissue function. Biochim Biophys Acta 1842:377-92