Mechanisms and mediators linking adipose tissue inflammation and liver disease

REF: PD 13
Principle investigator:
Joan Clària / Vicente Arroyo
Contact details:



Research framework

Our group is performing translational research to study molecular mechanisms linking adipose tissue inflammation, adipokine deregulation, insulin resistance and progression of liver disease in obesity. We are a team of scientists studying the basic mechanisms underlying the appearance of a “low grade” state of inflammation in the adipose tissue, the formation and release of inflammatory lipid mediators and the overall consequences on the progression metabolic liver disease.

Our programme is a continuation of work recently published in:

  • J Immunol 2011;187:5408-18
  • FASEB J 2011;25:2538-50
  • J Immunol 2010;184:3978-87
  • Hepatology 2010;52:1980-1991
  • Hepatology 2010;51:817-827
  • FASEB J 2009;23:1946-57

Briefly, our data supports the concept that small lipid mediators generated from arachidonic play an active role in triggering the process of the appearance of a “low grade” inflammatory state in adipose and liver tissues. In contrast, small lipid mediators generated from docosahexaenoic acid play a counter-regulatory role by favoring the resolution of uncontrolled inflammation in these tissues. Some of these anti-inflammatory and pro-resolving mediators induce macrophage polarization toward the M2 phenotype.

Our work is likely to involve some or all of the following techniques:

  • Human adipocytes and macrophagres
  • In vivo studies in knockout mice
  • Tissue histology and immunohistochemistry
  • Gene expression analysis (real-time PCR and microarrays)
  • Cell culture and biochemical analysis
  • Lipidomic analysis


Inflammation, resolution, small lípido mediators, macrophages, adipocytes, hepatocytes

Main Challenges

The desirable achievements and outcomes in research of the candidate include the application to the study of metabolic liver disease of cell and molecular biology techniques as well as an optimal professional development in biochemistry, histological and immunohistochemical techniques, gene expression analysis and mouse pathophysiology.

The candidate should be able to develop ideas logically and design experiments to test hypotheses, to modify and apply new methods to the advancement of the basic knowledge on the mechanisms underlying the progression of the low-grade inflammatory response present in adipose tissue of obese patients that ultimately leads to associated disorders in the hepatic tissue.

Team strategic objective in IDIBAPS

To conduct research investigating the role of inflammatory lipid mediators (eicosanoids) and adipokines in adipose tissue inflammation in metabolic liver disease.

(Read eligibility criteria)