The effects of short chain fatty acids on pre-adipocyte differentiation and depot specific adipocyte lipogenesis and insulin sensitivity in childhood.
The influence of dietary fibre in weight maintenance is well established and is likely mediated through the microbiome with increased production of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs – e.g. acetic acid, propionic acid and butyric acid). In primary animal and adult human adipocytes, SCFAs have been shown to influence lipogenesis and insulin stimulated glucose uptake. Furthermore, some SCFAs may directly influence appetite regulation. In our laboratory we have unique expertise in the collection, cell culture techniques and experimentation on subcutaneous and visceral preadipocytes and differentiated adipocytes taken from young children. In this proposed PhD project, the candidate would collect fat tissue taken during routine surgery at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children in a well-established collaboration. The candidate would then study the effects of SCFAs on pre-adipocyte differentiation and subsequently the effects of SCFAs on depot specific lipid storage and insulin sensitive glucose uptake. The aim would be to establish the potential role of SCFAs in the development of childhood fat deposition and subsequent function. Establishing such a role may provide evidence that public health strategies aiming to increase fibre consumption in the early childhood diet might positively affect the prevalence of obesity which is currently epidemic in most countries world-wide. This post would be suitable for basic scientist candidates or clinicians wishing to study child or adult endocrinology and metabolism as a subsequent speciality.