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Professor Toni Vidal-Puig

Research Interests

Effect of acute high-fat feeding on systemic immune activation                             

Obesity is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation, as evidenced by increased circulating inflammatory cytokines. In line with this fact, obesity has been identified as a risk factor for multiple metabolic and inflammatory diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma and arthritis. Considerable evidence has pointed to adipose tissue as the source of elevated circulating cytokines in obesity, with macrophages, the most numerous immune cells in adipose tissue, being viewed as the major source of cytokine production. In accordance with this concept, obesity is associated with a substantial increase in adipose macrophage number and these macrophages have an inflammatory phenotype, known as an ‘M1’ phenotype. Recently, the origin of the inflammatory macrophages infiltrating adipose tissue has been questioned and there is strong evidence that they derive from circulating monocytes, rather than conversion of resident anti-inflammatory ‘M2’ macrophages.

Key Publications

Whittle AJ, Carobbio S, Martins L, Slawik M, Hondares E, Vázquez MJ, Morgan D, Csikasz RI, Gallego R, Rodriguez-Cuenca S, Dale M, Virtue S, Villarroya F, Cannon B, Rahmouni K, López M, Vidal-Puig A. BMP8B increases brown adipose tissue thermogenesis through both central and peripheral actions. Cell. 2012 May 11;149(4):871-85

Virtue S, Masoodi M, Velagapudi V, Tan CY, Dale M, Suorti T, Slawik M, Blount M, Burling K, Campbell M, Eguchi N, Medina-Gomez G, Sethi JK, Orešič M, Urade Y, Griffin JL, Vidal-Puig A. Lipocalin prostaglandin D synthase and PPARγ2 coordinate to regulate carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in vivo. PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e39512.  

Virtue S, Even P, Vidal-Puig A. Below thermoneutrality, changes in activity do not drive changes in total daily energy expenditure between groups of mice. Cell Metab. 2012 Nov 7;16(5):665-71.

Whittle AJ, Vidal-Puig A. Physiology: Immune cells fuel the fire. Nature. 2011 Dec 1;480(7375):46-7.

Prieur X, Mok CY, Velagapudi VR, Núñez V, Fuentes L, Montaner D, Ishikawa K, Camacho A, Barbarroja N, O'Rahilly S, Sethi JK, Dopazo J, Orešič M, Ricote M, Vidal-Puig A. Differential lipid partitioning between adipocytes and tissue macrophages modulates macrophage lipotoxicity and M2/M1 polarization in obese mice. Diabetes. 2011 Mar;60(3):797-809. 

Medina-Gomez G, Virtue S, Lelliott C, Boiani R, Campbell M, Christodoulides C, Perrin C, Jimenez-Linan M, Blount M, Dixon J, Zahn D, Thresher RR, Aparicio S, Carlton M, Colledge WH, Kettunen MI, Seppänen-Laakso T, Sethi JK, O'Rahilly S, Brindle K, Cinti S, Oresic M, Burcelin R, Vidal-Puig A. The link between nutritional status and insulin sensitivity is dependent on the adipocyte-specific peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma2 isoform. Diabetes. 2005 Jun;54(6):1706-16.