Lead Investigator: Bruce Bunnell, PhD

Institution: Tulane University School of Medicine, Center for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine

LF Funding History: 2017 Collaborative Award

Hypothesis: We hypothesize that adipose stem cells isolated from lipedema patients will a) possess important alterations to their cellular and molecular biology that drive the manifestation of disease, and b) SVF will efficiently develop into lipedema adipose tissue in vivo in immune deficient mice.

Current LF Collaboration: This project is part of an ongoing collaboration with Dr. Karen Herbst at the University of Arizona


Project: Molecular and Cellular Characterization of Adipose Stem Cells from Lipedema Patients, and their Role in the Manifestation of Disease in vivo

As lipedema is a disease within the adipose tissue, a reasonable concept is that the adipocyte stem cells may be drivers of the disease process. The adipose stem cells (ASCs) give rise to mature adipocytes and dysregulation of key regulatory pathways in ASCs could result in development of lipedema. These studies will analyze two preparations of stem cells, the stromal vascular fraction (SVF) and culture expanded adipose stem cell (ASCs) isolated from lipedema tissue. We believe these cells will have key changes to their biology and gene expression patterns that drive the manifestation of disease.

We will also determine if SVF or ASCs can be used to create an animal model of lipedema, which would be very helpful for testing novel disease treatments. Results from these studies will

a) demonstrate that biology and gene expression of ASCs from lipedema patients have different biologic properties and that these differences are integral to the manifestation of disease;

b) determine if an in vivo animal model of lipedema is feasible.


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