Advances in Diabetes Research

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Understanding the molecular basis of adipogenesis in relation to obesity and diabetes.
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Dr. Battsetseg Batchuluun is a postdoctoral fellow at Toronto General Hospital Research Institute. She studies the dorsal vagal complex in regulating lipid homeostasis alongside Dr. Tony Lam.

Conference: The American Diabetes Association’s 79th Scientific Sessions, June 7-11 2019, San Francisco, USA

Conference Highlight: Over 15,000 participants from 115 countries came together to share their research advances in the field of diabetes and related metabolic diseases.

Conference Summary: This conference provided a unique platform to discuss the latest discoveries and advancements in the area of diabetes and related metabolic diseases. As obesity is a major risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, there were a number of sessions that focused on lipidology. One of the intriguing findings discussed was that the transcription factor SOX9 inhibits adipogenesis, as demonstrated by the evidence that ablation of SOX9 resulted in a 50% increase of white adipose tissue. Moreover, mice lacking SOX9 had impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance, providing new insight into the complex mechanisms involved in obesity. Adaptive thermogenesis in adipocytes was also another major topic, as elevating energy expenditure and adaptive thermogenesis is a potential strategy to reverse obesity. Interestingly, the mammal-specific endoplasmic reticulum protein, Calsyntenin 3β, was shown to be expressed in thermogenic adipocytes to regulate adaptive thermogenesis. In addition, loss of creatine synthesis in adipocytes impairs their thermogenic capacity, as demonstrated in mice with adipocyte-specific deletion of the creatine transporter. These mice were unable to maintain thermal homeostasis, had decreased whole body metabolic rate and were prone to obesity when fed a high-fat diet. These findings suggest that enhancing creatine uptake by adipocytes is a potential treatment for obesity. Another suggested therapeutic approach for obesity was the use of berberine, an alkaloid extract that inhibits lipid synthesis and fatty acid uptake.

Overall, this conference provided great opportunities to present my work, receive feedback and learn from experts in the field.