Kristy Townsend

Kristy Townsend
University of Maine | UM · School of Biology and Ecology

Ph.D. Neuroscience (2007, Boston University)

About

54
Publications
9,067
Reads
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2,872
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 2020 - present
The Ohio State University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Description
  • Learn more at ktownsendlab.com Kristy is on Twitter @neuroadipo
November 2014 - August 2020
University of Maine
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Description
  • ktownsendlab.com
May 2009 - October 2014
Joslin Diabetes Center
Position
  • Instructor in Medicine; Research Associate
Education
September 2002 - August 2007
Boston University
Field of study
  • Neuroscience

Publications

Publications (54)
Article
Changes in adipose tissue's extracellular matrix, as with fibrosis, inhibits the tissue's ability to shrink and expand as needed, resulting in sheer stress on adipocytes and chronic inflammation, as well as decreased insulin sensitivity. With aging, a state of metabolic dysregulation and increased incidence of insulin resistance, we have observed a...
Article
Diabetes is the leading cause of peripheral neuropathy (PN) , which results in loss of nerve supply in tissues like skin, adipose and muscle. While there are currently few treatments for PN, early mitigation in the pre-diabetic state with tissue neurotrophic factors may improve nerve function in metabolically important tissues like adipose. We used...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Increasing the mass and/or activity of brown adipose tissue (BAT) is one promising avenue for treating obesity and related metabolic conditions, given that BAT has a high potential for energy expenditure and is capable of improving glucose and lipid homeostasis. BAT occurs either in discrete “classical” depots, or interspersed in white a...
Article
Full-text available
Here we provide a clearing-free protocol for processing intact, whole mount subcutaneous white adipose tissue (scWAT) for immunofluorescence as an alternative to current clearing-based approaches. We use a combination of Z-depth reduction and autofluorescence quenching techniques to fluorescently label, image, and quantify adipose tissue innervatio...
Article
In adult tissues such as adipose tissue, post-mitotic cells like adipocytes can be replaced by differentiation of a population of tissue resident stem cells. Expression of mouse telomerase reverse transcriptase (mTert) is a hallmark of stem cell populations, and previous efforts to identify tissue resident adult stem cells by measuring mTert expres...
Article
Energy homeostasis and adipose tissue metabolism are regulated in large part through peripheral sympathetic nerve innervation of metabolically important tissues and organs. This neural communication from the brain to adipose tissues results in release of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine that regulates energy expenditure through modulation of lip...
Article
Full-text available
Little is known about the diversity and function of adipose tissue nerves, due in part to the inability to effectively visualize the tissue’s diverse nerve subtypes, as well as the patterns of innervation across an intact depot. The tools to image and quantify adipose tissue innervation are currently limited. Here we present a method of tissue proc...
Preprint
Little is known about the diversity and function of adipose tissue nerves due, in part, to the inability to effectively visualize the various nerve subtypes residing within these tissues. The tools currently available for researchers to image and quantify adipose tissue innervation are limited and dependent on optical clearing techniques and light...
Article
Full-text available
Background Innervation of adipose tissue is essential for the proper function of this critical metabolic organ. Numerous surgical and chemical denervation studies have demonstrated how maintenance of brain-adipose communication through both sympathetic efferent and sensory afferent nerves helps regulate adipocyte size, cell number, lipolysis, and ‘...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Innervation of adipose tissue is essential for the proper function of this critical metabolic organ. Numerous surgical and chemical denervation studies have demonstrated how maintenance of brain-adipose communication through both sympathetic efferent and sensory afferent nerves helps regulate adipocyte size, cell number, lipolysis, and...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Innervation of adipose tissue is essential for the proper function of this critical metabolic organ. Numerous surgical and chemical denervation studies have demonstrated how maintenance of brain-adipose communication through both sympathetic efferent and sensory afferent nerves help regulate adipocyte size, cell number, lipolysis, and ‘...
Article
In the pursuit of understanding metabolic control and energy balance, peripheral nerve communication between adipose tissues and the brain has been largely ignored. This Comment discusses the need for additional research that focuses on the role of adipose peripheral nerve function in the maintenance of energy balance.
Preprint
Adipose tissue requires neural innervation in order to regulate important metabolic functions. Though seminal work on adipose denervation has underscored the importance of adipose-nerve interactions in both white (energy storing) and brown (energy expending) adipose tissues, much remains a mystery. This is due, in part, to the inability to effectiv...
Preprint
Background Innervation of adipose tissue is essential for the proper function of this critical metabolic organ. Numerous surgical and chemical denervation studies have demonstrated how maintenance of brain-adipose communication through both sympathetic efferent and sensory afferent nerves helps regulate adipocyte size, cell number, lipolysis, and ‘...
Article
Full-text available
The difficulty in obtaining as well as maintaining weight loss, together with the impairment of metabolic control in conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, may represent pathological situations of inadequate neural communication between the brain and peripheral organs and tissues. Innervation of adipose tissues by peripheral nerves pr...
Article
Full-text available
Brown and white adipose tissues are essential for maintenance of proper energy balance and metabolic health. In order to function efficiently, these tissues require both endocrine and neural communication with the brain. Brown adipose tissue (BAT), as well as the inducible brown adipocytes that appear in white adipose tissue (WAT) after simulation,...
Preprint
The difficulty in obtaining as well as maintaining weight loss, together with the loss of metabolic control in conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, may represent pathological situations of inadequate neural communication between the brain and peripheral organs and tissues. Innervation of adipose tissues by peripheral nerves provides...
Article
Consumption of diets that differ in fat type and amount, and sequestration of various fatty acids to tissues and organs likely have effects on overall physiology and metabolic health. However, the contributions of dietary lipids to brain–adipose communication and adipose tissue function are poorly understood. We designed six custom diets that diffe...
Article
The regulation of energy balance involves complex processes in the brain, including coordination by hypothalamic neurons that contain pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC). We previously demonstrated that central bone morphogenetic protein 7 (BMP7) reduces appetite. Now we show that a type 1 BMP receptor, BMPR1A, is co-localized with POMC neurons and POMC-BM...
Article
Full-text available
Increasing energy expenditure is an appealing therapeutic target for the prevention and reversal of metabolic conditions such as obesity or type 2 diabetes. However, not enough research has investigated how to exploit pre-existing neural pathways, both in the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS), in order to meet these n...
Article
Full-text available
Brown adipose tissue (BAT) dissipates chemical energy as heat and can counteract obesity. MicroRNAs are emerging as key regulators in development and disease. Combining microRNA and mRNA microarray profiling followed by bioinformatic analyses, we identified miR-455 as a new regulator of brown adipogenesis. miR-455 exhibits a BAT-specific expression...
Article
Recently, there has been great attention given to the possibility of combating obesity by targeting brown fat activity or increasing differentiation of brown adipocytes in white fat depots through a process termed ‘browning’. Sympathetic innervation of brown and white adipose tissues provides adrenergic input that drives thermogenesis and regulates...
Article
Full-text available
Targeting brown adipose tissue (BAT) content or activity has therapeutic potential for treating obesity and the metabolic syndrome by increasing energy expenditure. However, both inter- and intra-individual differences contribute to heterogeneity in human BAT and potentially to differential thermogenic capacity in human populations. Here we generat...
Article
Full-text available
Exercise training improves whole body glucose homeostasis through effects largely attributed to adaptations in skeletal muscle; however, training also affects other tissues including adipose tissue. To determine if exercise-induced adaptations to adipose tissue contribute to training-induced improvements in glucose homeostasis, subcutaneous white a...
Article
Brown adipose tissue (BAT) dissipates energy as heat to maintain optimal thermogenesis and to contribute to energy expenditure in rodents and possibly humans. The energetic processes executed by BAT require a readily-available fuel supply, which includes glucose and fatty acids (FAs). FAs become available by cellular uptake, de novo lipogenesis, an...
Article
Full-text available
Maintenance of body temperature is essential for the survival of homeotherms. Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a specialized fat tissue that is dedicated to thermoregulation. Owing to its remarkable capacity to dissipate stored energy and its demonstrated presence in adult humans, BAT holds great promise for the treatment of obesity and metabolic synd...
Article
Full-text available
Obesity develops as a result of altered energy homeostasis favoring fat storage. Here we describe a new transcription co-regulator for adiposity and energy metabolism, SERTA domain containing 2 (TRIP-Br2, also called SERTAD2). TRIP-Br2-null mice are resistant to obesity and obesity-related insulin resistance. Adipocytes of these knockout mice showe...
Article
Full-text available
Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is known to function in the dissipation of chemical energy in response to cold or excess feeding, and also has the capacity to modulate energy balance. To test the hypothesis that BAT is fundamental to the regulation of glucose homeostasis, we transplanted BAT from male donor mice into the visceral cavity of age- and sex-...
Article
Aims: Brown adipose tissue dissipates chemical energy in the form of heat and regulates triglyceride and glucose metabolism in the body. Factors that regulate fatty acid uptake and oxidation in brown adipocytes have not yet been fully elucidated. Bone morphogenetic protein 7 (BMP7) is a growth factor capable of inducing brown fat mitochondrial bio...
Article
Full-text available
Body weight is regulated by coordinating energy intake and energy expenditure. Transforming growth factor β (TGFβ)/bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling has been shown to regulate energy balance in lower organisms, but whether a similar pathway exists in mammals is unknown. We have previously demonstrated that BMP7 can regulate brown adipogene...
Article
Full-text available
Obesity is currently a global pandemic, and is associated with increased mortality and co-morbidities including many metabolic diseases. Obesity is characterized by an increase in adipose mass due to increased energy intake, decreased energy expenditure, or both. While white adipose tissue is specialized for energy storage, brown adipose tissue has...
Article
Full-text available
Brown fat is specialized for energy expenditure and has therefore been proposed to function as a defense against obesity. Despite recent advances in delineating the transcriptional regulation of brown adipocyte differentiation, cellular lineage specification and developmental cues specifying brown-fat cell fate remain poorly understood. In this stu...
Article
We tested whether diet-induced obesity results from increased energy consumption, is associated with changes in expression of genes involved in leptin signal transduction, and is altered by hyperleptinemia. C57BL/6 mice were fed a low-fat diet (LFD) or high-fat diet (HFD) for up to 15 weeks. HFD mice weighed significantly more than LFD controls by...
Article
Full-text available
Migration and hibernation in mammals may be preceded by a period of leptin resistance, which may in part account for the increasing adiposity and body mass that occurs during these periods. We hypothesized that hypothalamic expression of leptin receptor mRNA would decrease during the premigration (PM) period in the little brown myotis, Myotis lucif...
Article
In addition to effects on metabolism and appetite, leptin is a reproductive hormone produced and secreted by the placenta of many, but not all mammalian species. In mice, in which the placenta does not secrete leptin, exogenously added leptin stimulates invasiveness of early (but not late)-gestation trophoblast cells. We report a similar phenomenon...
Article
In addition to effects on appetite and metabolism, the hormone leptin is required for reproduction in mammals. Maternal plasma leptin is increased above non-pregnant levels in all mammals thus far examined, including humans. The increase in plasma leptin appears to result in part from upregulation of adipose leptin secretion (e.g., in mice), or fro...

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Projects

Project (1)
Project
Finding the links between Dicer, miRNAs and adipose tissue function