Mitochondria and nutrient signaling

Research group information

Contact information

Research group leader

Research group description

The complex pathophysiology of obesity and its related metabolic disturbances is intimately link to malfunction of mitochondria in white adipose tissue (WAT). Boosting mitochondrial activity is a promising approach to protect from obesity and its metabolic complications based on animal studies but unfortunately, current clinical strategies do not include treatments specifically targeting mitochondria in humans. The big challenge in the obesity research and drug development is that the currently available study models do not mimic well the morphology or metabolism of human white adipocytes or WAT in vivo. Therefore, we aim to generate an appropriate and unique study model on human obesity; the three-dimensional (3D) cell culture model of human white adipose spheroids which allows studies particularly on mitochondria metabolism. We will ultimately offer a novel platform -the 3D culture model of human white adipose spheroids, for the obesity research and drug development. Our innovation will allow us and also others to investigate human white adipocyte mitochondrial biology, the effect of novel drug candidates on white adipocyte mitochondrial metabolism, assess toxicity of novel drug candidates and develop novel diagnostic tools and personalized medications in physiologically relevant conditions. Thus, our project will pave the way to the development of mitochondria-based therapies for obesity and metabolic complications.

Our team

Where are we headed

The future goals of Pirinen lab are to understand:

  1. whether fibrosis can be modeled in the 3D culture models of human adipose spheroids
  2. the prevalence of NAD+ metabolism disturbances in the diseased state in humans
  3. how different types of weight loss affect NAD+ metabolism in humans
  4. whether vitamin B3 rich diet could be used to improve NAD+ metabolism in humans

Our main collaborators