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Core Facilities highlights Metabolic Phenotyping Core

This month, the Core Facilities recognizes the groundbreaking work of the laboratories of Yuval Silberman, PhD and Amy Arnold, PhD, which utilized the services of the Metabolic Phenotyping Core (RRID: SCR_022565). A recent study by these Penn State College of Medicine researchers examined whether inhibiting central inflammation with minocycline, a tetracycline antibiotic that crosses the blood brain barrier and demonstrates anti-inflammatory capabilities via microglial inhibition, improves glucose homeostasis and energy balance in a well-established mouse model of obesity.

They found that minocycline reduces body mass and adiposity as well as improves insulin sensitivity in obese mice. These effects were associated with reduced inflammatory processes in the brain, and specifically in key parts of the hypothalamus known to regulate metabolic function, with no changes in peripheral inflammation. These findings show that central inflammation plays a critical role in obesity-related metabolic dysfunction. This research was published in Frontiers in Physiology in June 2022 (PMC9244633).

The long-term impact of this research is to gain a better understanding of the causes of obesity, a worldwide health problem that increases risk for developing type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Of critical importance to the success of this study was the ability to access key shared resources in the Metabolic Phenotyping Core to measure body composition and food intake in conscious mice.

The Metabolic Phenotyping Core services and instruments are funded by the Office of the Vice Dean of Research at the Penn State College of Medicine, Pennsylvania Department of Health Tobacco Settlement Funds (CURE), and NIH through 1S10OD026980. It provides equipment for the phenotypic analysis of energy balance in rodents and is a valuable tool for any comparative medicine studies in which weight loss or gain is a phenotype. It works in partnership with the Comparative Medicine Imaging Core, which will be featured next month.

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