Role of different fatty acids in the regulation of cytokine secretion of human macrophages


Principal Investigator

Background and current state of research

Obesity is a metabolic abnormality which is linked to inflammation. Recent studies have shown that  proinflammatory cytokines play an important role in the development of obesity and diabetes. Consistent with this, the number of cytokine‑secreting macrophages being infiltrated in adipose tissues of humans is elevated in obese subjects. We hypothize that the intake of different fatty acids influences cytokine secretion of macrophages and therefore might be an important factor in the development of obesity and diabetes.

Our goals

With this project we aim to contribute to the profiling of the typical obese human subject and with this spot potential intervention targets. In detail, the project tends to investigate the impact of a variety of different lipids on cytokine secretion in regard of obesity development.

How to get there

Within the last three years, and funded by the BMBF, the Food Chain Plus (FoCus) cohort has been built up, comprising n=1500 cross sectional controls and n=500 severe obese human subjects. The subjects recruited received a detailed phenotyping programm, including food frequency questionnaires (e.g. on intake of Ω-3 FA). Next to biobanking of DNA, serum, urine and stool, also SNPs, MRTs, lipidomics and microbiome data were gathered. In the serum samples of the subjects, concentrations of proinflammatory cytokines (e.g. wnt5a) have been determined.

By analysing food frequency questionnaires and lipidomics data, nutritional intake can be correlated with metabolic and inflammatory factors (e.g. HOMA, BMI, IL6, etc.). Therefore, statistical methods (e.g. correlation tests, multiple linear models) will be applied to study associations between nutritional uptake and body response. Subsequently, DNA and blood samples of the FoCus project will be utilized to verify computational results by experimental laboratory work. Finally, additional data from the FoCus cohort, e.g. data on microbiomes and genetic SNPs can be included in the project.