Sofia de Oliveira
Date: December 18, 2018. 12:30
Location: CCU Seminar Room
Title: Illuminating the impact of western-type diets on inflammation with Zebrafish models
Affiliation: University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Inflammation is a main host defense process. Dysregulated immune responses lack resolution, which causes a vast number of chronic diseases. Western-type diet triggers inflammation in organs and tissues that leads to the development of diseases such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular, respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases. In liver, western diet induces fat accumulation in hepatocytes, which triggers the development of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a severe inflammatory form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD/NASH can progress to liver cancer, such as Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC), whose incidence is anticipated to increase exponentially due to the growing epidemic of obesity and diabetes. A major gap remains in understanding how the innate immune cell networks modulate the liver tumor microenvironment (TME) and contribute to the progression of HCC in vivo, particularly in presence of western-diet. In addition to liver diseases, western diet also induces a chronic low-grade systemic inflammatory state known as 'meta-inflammation. The field has been neglecting the impact and consequences of meta-inflammation. It is of fundamental importance to understand how diet-induced systemic inflammation impacts or primes innate immune cells and their responses to local secondary immune responses. Obesity and liver disease, particularly HCC, are often associated and therefore it is extremely important to understand the systemic effect of diet on innate immune cell responses not just to improve the treatment of the “secondary” acute or chronic inflammatory diseases characteristic on obese patients, but also to understand the impact of diet (and diet-associated pathologies) in liver cancer treatment. To investigate the mechanisms involved in such processes, I am using zebrafish as an animal model to overcome the major limitation in the fields of inflammation and liver diseases, which is the lack of good animal models amenable to large-scale non-invasive live imaging of immune responses and cell-cell interactions in a whole animal context.