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Matrix-Assisted Transplantation of Functional Beige Adipose Tissue

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Novel, clinically relevant, approaches to shift energy balance are urgently needed to combat metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes. One promising approach has been the expansion of brown adipose tissues that express uncoupling protein (UCP) 1 and thus can uncouple mitochondrial respiration from ATP synthesis. While expansion of UCP1-expressing adipose depots may be achieved in rodents via genetic and pharmacological manipulations or the transplantation of brown fat depots, these methods are difficult to use for human clinical intervention. We present a novel cell scaffold technology optimized to establish functional brown fat-like depots in vivo. We adapted the biophysical properties of hyaluronic acid-based hydrogels to support the differentiation of white adipose tissue-derived multipotent stem cells (ADMSCs) into lipid-accumulating, UCP1-expressing beige adipose tissue. Subcutaneous implantation of ADMSCs within optimized hydrogels resulted in the establishment of distinct UCP1-expressing implants that successfully attracted host vasculature and persisted for several weeks. Importantly, implant recipients demonstrated elevated core body temperature during cold challenges, enhanced respiration rates, improved glucose homeostasis, and reduced weight gain, demonstrating the therapeutic merit of this highly translatable approach. This novel approach is the first truly clinically translatable system to unlock the therapeutic potential of brown fat-like tissue expansion.

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