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Drs. Marks and O’Rourke recognized by F1000 for paper on hypoxia

Dr. O'RourkeDaniel Marks, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Robert O'Rourke, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, recently published a paper in the journal Diabetologia that has been included in the F1000 index, a list of high profile scientific publications.

“This is very significant,” said Emily McElroy, MLIS, Associate Professor, Head, Content Management & Systems, OHSU Library, “The F1000 selects only the most important articles published in the biomedical sciences. It’s certainly noteworthy for Drs. Marks and O’Rourke to have their paper included.”

The paper, titled, “Hypoxia-induced inflammatory cytokine secretion in human adipose tissue stromovascular cells,” studies the response of human adipose tissue to hypoxia in human obesity.

Hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen, in adipose (fat) tissue is a serious problem in obesity. As patients become more obese, fat cells enlarge to a size beyond which oxygen can no longer diffuse into these cells, generating a hypoxic state with detrimental effects on metabolism. The mechanisms of hypoxia’s effects on metabolism are not clear, and elucidating these mechanisms will lead to development of pharmacotherapy for diabetes and other obesity-related diseases.

The paper by Drs. Marks and O’Rourke demonstrates that adipose tissue from obese humans is afflicted not only with enlarged fat cells, but also decreased blood vessel density, suggesting possible mechanisms for hypoxia. Furthermore, they demonstrate that this hypoxic state induces a strong inflammatory response in adipose tissue, thus linking hypoxia-induced inflammation to metabolic disease. They describe the details of this hypoxia-induced inflammation and identify a specific inflammatory cellular stress molecule, p38, in mediating these effects, thus identifying p38 as a target for pharmacotherapy directed towards ameliorating hypoxia-induced inflammation and metabolic disease.”

Dr. Marks, a pediatric endocrinologist/neuroscientist, and Dr. O’Rourke, a surgeon/immunologist are collaborating from different perspectives in both the clinical and research realms to accomplish their research.

“We are excited by these results, which will serve as a launching point for further in vitro and in vivo studies directed towards developing therapy for metabolic disease based on hypoxia-inducible mediators of inflammation within adipose tissue,” said Dr. O’Rourke. “The focus of these studies on human tissues is one unique and valuable aspect of this work. The inclusion of this manuscript in the F1000 list identify these data as being of significant interest to the broader scientific community.”


Pictured: Robert O'Rourke, MD

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