Researchers use widefield microscopy to image adipose and brain tissue as part of their work to find new ways to treat obesity.
Obesity refers to the excessive amount of body fat, often as a result from eating more calories (energy) than are used. This can be a serious medical issue with increased risk of health problems including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers.
Dr. Koh Ono and Dr. Takahiro Horie are cardiologists at Kyoto University Hospital (Japan). They provide medical care in the field of cardiovascular medicine as well as conduct basic research in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine.
Dr. Ono and Dr. Horie recently published an article using wide field microscopy to investigate a specific microRNA (miR-33) as a potential target for obesity treatment. They provided some insights on their recent work.
Tell us about your recent publication.
We have been investigating the functions of microRNAs in cardiovascular diseases. We found that micoRNA-33 (miR-33), located in the intron of SREBF2, plays an important role in lipid metabolism. miR-33-deficient mice showed increased serum HDL-C (good cholesterol) and decreased atherosclerosis and abdominal aortic aneurysm formation.
However, these mice showed an obese phenotype when fed a high-fat diet. In this paper, we show that miRNA-33 in the brain is essential for adaptive thermogenesis. Adaptive thermogenesis is the process by which animals produce heat in response to cold environments and is essential for survival. Heat is produced in brown adipose tissue (BAT) and lipids are used as fuel. We found that miRNA-33 maintains adaptive heat production in BAT by targeting GABAA receptor subunits in the brain to suppress GABAergic inhibitory signals and increase sympathetic tone. Therefore, miR-33 in the brain may be an important regulator of systemic metabolism.
How did you use wide field microscopy in your publication?
We used microscopy to visualize brown adipose tissues (BAT) and brain sections with HE staining and immunohistochemical staining. We also took fluorescent pictures of brains infected with AAV9 vector and expressing shRNA with this AAV9 vector. The data were acquired with ZEISS Axio Observer 7 and ZEISS ZEN software. This system was easy to use and the data were easy to analyze. With this system, it was possible to easily observe the microstructure of BAT, brain activation by cold stimulation and infection efficiency of AAV9 vectors.
Read the full article: microRNA-33 maintains adaptive thermogenesis via enhanced sympathetic nerve activity Link
Learn more about ZEISS solutions for widefield microscopy.
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