Despite sex differences in the risk of metabolic disease, the progression of disease, and treatment responses, the guidelines for treating abnormal fat storage in men and women are largely the same. At present, the development of more effective, tailored therapeutic strategies for men and women is stalled by a lack of knowledge of specific genes that control fat storage in each sex. One reason we lack this knowledge, especially in females, is that virtually all studies on fat storage use cultured cells (cell sex is abnormal) or male animals.
Dr. Elizabeth Rideout uses the fruit fly as a model to identify genes that affect fat storage in each sex, as the same genes control fat storage in both flies and mammals. Using flies in early-stage discovery studies allows dozens of genes and pathways to be screened for effects on fat storage in each sex, studies that would not be cost-effective or feasible in other models. Ultimately, Rideout’s studies will establish a pool of promising candidate genes that control fat storage in each sex. This is an important starting point to tackle this problem in pre-clinical models, and eventually in humans.
For an up-to-date list of publications by Dr. Rideout, please see Google Scholar.