My research interests include understanding the mechanistic basis of the pathologies associated with obesity, including insulin resistance, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidemia, endothelial dysfunction and hypertension. Molecular and physiological studies have revealed that inflammation of adipose tissue is a key determinant in the initiation of these diseases.
Adipocytes and macrophages secrete proteins and lipids in a manner dependent on the current metabolic state. With obesity there is an increased release of fatty acids from adipocytes and an increased production of proinflammatory cytokines and proinflammatory lipids in adipose tissue. Additionally, adipocytes secrete proteins known as adipokines which in a paracrine manner, affect insulin sensitivity. With a mechanistic understanding of adipose biology, it will be possible to expand on therapeutic options for treatment of obesity related pathologies
Hertzel, A. V., Hellberg, K., Reynolds, J. M., Kruse, A. C., Juhlmann, B. E., Smith, A. J., Sanders, M. A., Ohlendorf, D. H., Suttles, J. and Bernlohr, D. A. 2009. Identification and characterization of a small molecule inhibitor of Fatty Acid binding proteins. J Med Chem 52: 6024-31.
Smith, A. J., Sanders, M. A., Juhlmann, B. E., Hertzel, A. V. and Bernlohr, D. A. 2008. Mapping of the hormone-sensitive lipase binding site on the adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein (AFABP). Identification of the charge quartet on the AFABP/aP2 helix-turn-helix domain. J Biol Chem 283: 33536-43.
Hertzel, A. V., Smith, L. A., Berg, A. H., Cline, G. W., Shulman, G. I., Scherer, P. E. and Bernlohr, D. A. 2006. Lipid metabolism and adipokine levels in fatty acid-binding protein null and transgenic mice. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 290: E814-23.
Maeda, K., Uysal, K. T., Makowski, L., Gorgun, C. Z., Atsumi, G., Parker, R. A., Bruning, J., Hertzel, A. V., Bernlohr, D. A. and Hotamisligil, G. S. 2003. Role of the fatty acid binding protein mal1 in obesity and insulin resistance. Diabetes 52: 300-7.
Hertzel, A. V., Bennaars-Eiden, A. and Bernlohr, D. A. 2002. Increased lipolysis in transgenic animals overexpressing the epithelial fatty acid binding protein in adipose cells. J Lipid Res 43: 2105-11.