MOLECULAR METABOLISM AND DISEASE
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biomedicine Faculty of Biology. University of Barcelona
Our research group is focused on the study of the molecular and physiological basis of control of energy metabolism, and how it relates to human pathologies. We study the molecular mechanisms of brown, beige and white adipocyte plasticity, as well as muscle and hepatic metabolism. Molecular actors conveying new metabolic and endocrine functions of cells, tissues and organs are identified and characterized. Identification of the signaling molecules determining cellular and organ cross-talk is a main research subject.
International Journal of Obesity quotes a selection of articles from 2021, which top the
list of the journal’s most cited, downloaded and most shared (including press
coverage, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Weibo) articles. They showcase the breadth of
scope and coverage that the journal consistently delivers to its readers. Our paper
“The chemokine CXCL14 is negatively associated with obesity and concomitant type-2
diabetes in humans” by R. Cereijo, T. Quesada-López, A. Gavaldà-Navarro, J. Tarascó, S.
Pellitero, M. Reyes, M. Puig-Domingo, M. Giralt, D. Sánchez-Infantes & F.Villarroya,
published in January 2021, has been selected. The article states the importance of
CXCL14 as a biomarker of obesity/diabetes in humans after our previous study in Cell
Metabolism 2018 identifying CXCL14 as a novel batokine on the basis of rodent model
studies. The International Journal of Obesity is a leading multi-disciplinary journal
from the Nature editorial group publishing research describing basic, clinical and
applied studies in obesity and related disorders.
The project "ACBP, a new cadiomyokine for dtection and treatment of cardiac disease" has been awarded as research project by "Sociedad Española de Cardiología" and "Fundación Española del Corazón 2021". The project is leaded by Anna Planavila with participation of Francesc Villarroya and Albert Blasco, and the award will support translational research on molecular cardiology. Dr Planavila received the award at the Awards Ceremony on occasion of the recent "SEC 2021 - Annual Congress of the Spanish Society of Cardiology" at Zaragoza, Spain, last October 29.
Fundació Marató de TV3 releases a video message to disseminate the results of research projects developed at UB on Diabetes and Obesity, among them the project lead by Marta Giralt on “Identification of molecular mediators of intestine-derived signaling to insulin sensitization and promotion of browning: role of LBP and FGF15/19”. See it at http://zink.es/Simposium22_Site/index.html
The event of presentation of Sanna Laurila thesis, from the PET laboratory at the University of Turku, took place last 13 August, with Francesc Villarroya acting as opponent, a honorary role for doctorate qualification in the Finish University. The work by S.Laurila was related to the role of secretin in the control of human brown adipose tissue activity and was developed in the laboratory of K.Virtanen and P.Nuutila, international leader in research on human brown fat.
García-Beltran C, Cereijo R, Quesada-López T, Malpique R, López-Bermejo A, de Zegher F, Ibáñez L, Villarroya F.
BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care. 2020 Feb;8(1):e001035.
Circulating growth-and-differentiation factor-15 in early life: relation to prenatal and postnatal growth and adiposity measurements.
Díaz M, Campderrós L, Guimaraes MP, López-Bermejo A, de Zegher F, Villarroya F, Ibáñez L.
Pediatr Res. 2020 Apr;87(5):897-902.
Growth Differentiation Factor 15 is a potential biomarker of therapeutic response for TK2 deficient myopathy.
Dominguez-Gonzalez C, Badosa C, Madruga-Garrido M, Martí I, Paradas C, Ortez C, Diaz-Manera J, Berardo A, Alonso-Pérez J, Trifunov S, Cuadras D, Kalko SG, Blázquez-Bermejo C, Cámara Y, Martí R, Mavillard F, Martin MA, Montoya J, Ruiz-Pesini E, Villarroya J, Montero R, Villarroya F, Artuch R, Hirano M, Nascimento A, Jimenez-Mallebrera C.
Sci Rep. 2020 Jun 22;10(1):10111.
Malpique R, Gallego-Escuredo JM, Sebastiani G, Villarroya J, López-Bermejo A, de Zegher F, Villarroya F, Ibáñez L.
Int J Obes (Lond). 2019 Feb;43(2):384-391.
ICREA Academia Awards are given for a period of five years in recognition of an excellent scientific trajectory of university professors. Awardees receive funds over this period to support their lines of research,e ICRE teaching activities and allow awardee to focus on research activity.
The Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitor (INSTI) antiretrovirals are among the last generation drugs to treat HIV-infected patients. Recent data indicate that these patients show abnormally increased adiposity after treatment. Thus, the HIV infection and global obesity epidemics meet to confer to HIV patients increased metabolic and cardiovascular comorbidities.The coordinated research projects will assess the molecular and cellular basis of such phenomenon and will identify potential targets of preventive intervention.
That system, in which bradykinin is a main actor, has been traditionally associated with the physiology of the renal and cardiovascular systems and processes of inflammation and pain. Our study, led by Dr.M.Peyrou, Juan de la Cierva researcher at our lab, reports that the kallikrein-kinin system acts as mechanism of molecular self-control of brown and beige adipose tissue thermogenic activation, and could help prevent the harmful effects of excessive activation of brown adipose tissue occurring in some pathological conditions such as cachexia or recovery from severe burns.The full article is accessible at: https://rdcu.be/b3Ud4
Dr. Cairó received the award for the presentation "Parkin controls brown adipose tissue adaptive plasticity in response to thermal adaptations and obesogenic diet"
A project on hepatocarcinogenesis and metabolic lipotoxity, led by Francesc
Villarroya, has been one of the initiatives selected by the AECC, in the category of Ideas Semilla 2019. F. Villarroya was in charge of representing the project in the commemorative act that the AECC held on September 24, in the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid, on the occasion of World Research Day in Cancer (World Cancer Research Day).
In this edition, the AECC Scientific Foundation Research programs awarded 171 projects worth about 21 million euros, which integrate from great innovative and disruptive ideas to projects financed in a coordinated manner with large European foundations. Our focus is to investigate whether brown fat activation could be protective against liver cancer, as preliminary studies in our laboratory suggest.
Expertscape is an international web-based data analysis algorithm that objectively ranks people and and institutions by their expertise in more than 27,000 biomedical topics, based on scientific publications. For details see: http://www.expertscape.com/ex/adipose+tissue
Ruben Cereijo is a post-doctoral researcher, assistant professor at UB, member of our research team. The “Societat Catalana de Biologia” Young Researcher Award is for his doctoral thesis “Nous actors moleculars en la fisiologia del teixit adipós i pathologies associades”, read in the University of Barcelona in 2015, and the award to the best article is for the paper “CXCL14, a brown adipokine that mediates brown-fat-to-macrophage communication in thermogenic adaptation”, published in the prestigious scientific journal Cell Metabolism in 2018 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30122557). According to this study, the CXCL14 protein –formerly related to tumor progression and organogenesis- is synthetized by the brown adipose tissue and can activate cells with anti-inflammatory activity –M2 macrophages-, which have beneficial effects on metabolism and protect against type II diabetes and obesity. The prizes were given to the winners in the ceremony of the 4th Night of Biology, held in the Ramon Margalef Auditorium of CosmoCaixa Barcelona on July 10. Further information can be found at: https://www.ub.edu/dyn/cms/continguts_ca/menu_eines/noticies/index.html
The Adipoplast network organized an open symposium on "The adipose tissue plasticity in health and disease" followed by an internal organizational meeting at "Centro Singular de Investigación en Medicina Molecular y Enfermedades Crónicas (CIMUS)", Santiago de Compostela, the last March 12th. Members of the Adipoplast network presented recent research advances as well as collaborative perspectives. External speakers were the international reputed scientists on adipobiology Dr L.Fajas (University of Lausanne, Switzerland) and Dr. R. Nogueiras (CIMUS). More than forty attendants participated. Plans for further actions were developed in the Adipoplast organizational meeting. Adipoplast is a "Red de Excelencia" supported by the Spanish government to promote interdisciplinary research on adipose tissue, and is coordinated by Francesc Villarroya.
The Live Research Fair is a forum organized by the Barcelona Science Park (PCB) and Obra Social la Caixa which gather research groups from Catalan institutions to create a communication space for science and society –beyond the and research atmosphere- and promote scientific vocations among youngsters. The Live Research Fair is part of the science dissemination program of PCB’s Recerca en Societat. This year, from March 6 to 9, attendants will see the relationship between the active brown fat and a good metabolic health through the assessment of brown fat activity through infrared thermography.
Meteorin-like/Meteorin-β protects heart against cardiac dysfunction
C. Rupérez, G. Ferrer-Curriu, A. Cervera-Barea, L. Florit, M. Guitart-Mampel, G. Garrabou, M.Zamora, F. Crispi, J. Fernandez-Solà, J. Lupón, A. Bayes-Genis, F. Villarroya, A. Planavila
Journal of Experimental Medicine, 2021 May 3;218(5):e20201206.