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1.  Gene-chip studies of adipogenesis-regulated microRNAs in mouse primary adipocytes and human obesity 
Adipose tissue abundance relies partly on the factors that regulate adipogenesis, i.e. proliferation and differentiation of adipocytes. While components of the transcriptional program that initiates adipogenesis is well-known, the importance of microRNAs in adipogenesis is less well studied. We thus set out to investigate whether miRNAs would be actively modulated during adipogenesis and obesity.
Several models exist to study adipogenesis in vitro, of which the cell line 3T3-L1 is the most well known, albeit not the most physiologically appropriate. Thus, as an alternative, we produced EXIQON microarray of brown and white primary murine adipocytes (prior to and following differentiation) to yield global profiles of miRNAs.
We found 65 miRNAs regulated during in vitro adipogenesis in primary adipocytes. We evaluated the similarity of our responses to those found in non-primary cell models, through literature data-mining. When comparing primary adipocyte profiles, with those of cell lines reported in the literature, we found a high degree of difference in 'adipogenesis' regulated miRNAs suggesting that the model systems may not be accurately representing adipogenesis. The expression of 10 adipogenesis-regulated miRNAs were studied using real-time qPCR and then we selected 5 miRNAs, that showed robust expression, were profiled in subcutaneous adipose tissue obtained from 20 humans with a range of body mass indices (BMI, range = 21-48, and all samples have U133+2 Affymetrix profiles provided). Of the miRNAs tested, mir-21 was robustly expressed in human adipose tissue and positively correlated with BMI (R2 = 0.49, p < 0.001).
In conclusion, we provide a preliminary analysis of miRNAs associated with primary cell in vitro adipogenesis and demonstrate that the inflammation-associated miRNA, mir-21 is up-regulated in subcutaneous adipose tissue in human obesity. Further, we provide a novel transcriptomics database of EXIQON and Affymetrix adipocyte profiles to facilitate data mining.
PMCID: PMC3070678  PMID: 21426570
primary white and brown adipocytes; microRNAs; microarray; EXIQON; Affymetrix; Adipose tissue: adipocyte; transcriptome
2.  Extremely short duration high intensity interval training substantially improves insulin action in young healthy males 
Traditional high volume aerobic exercise training reduces cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk but involves a substantial time commitment. Extremely low volume high-intensity interval training (HIT) has recently been demonstrated to produce improvements to aerobic function, but it is unknown whether HIT has the capacity to improve insulin action and hence glycemic control.
Sixteen young men (age: 21 ± 2 y; BMI: 23.7 ± 3.1 kg·m-2; VO2peak: 48 ± 9 ml·kg-1·min-1) performed 2 weeks of supervised HIT comprising of a total of 15 min of exercise (6 sessions; 4–6 × 30-s cycle sprints per session). Aerobic performance (250-kJ self-paced cycling time trial), and glucose, insulin and NEFA responses to a 75-g oral glucose load (oral glucose tolerance test; OGTT) were determined before and after training.
Following 2 weeks of HIT, the area under the plasma glucose, insulin and NEFA concentration-time curves were all reduced (12%, 37%, 26% respectively, all P < 0.001). Fasting plasma insulin and glucose concentrations remained unchanged, but there was a tendency for reduced fasting plasma NEFA concentrations post-training (pre: 350 ± 36 v post: 290 ± 39 μmol·l-1, P = 0.058). Insulin sensitivity, as measured by the Cederholm index, was improved by 23% (P < 0.01), while aerobic cycling performance improved by ~6% (P < 0.01).
The efficacy of a high intensity exercise protocol, involving only ~250 kcal of work each week, to substantially improve insulin action in young sedentary subjects is remarkable. This novel time-efficient training paradigm can be used as a strategy to reduce metabolic risk factors in young and middle aged sedentary populations who otherwise would not adhere to time consuming traditional aerobic exercise regimes.
PMCID: PMC2640399  PMID: 19175906

Results 1-2 (2)