Rebecca Schill, Ph.D., and Kenneth Lewis, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellows (MacDougald Laboratory), Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Michigan Medical School
Beneath our skin is a layer of fat, called subcutaneous fat. This fat (or adipose) tissue is important in the regulation of body temperature, energy storage, hormone production (helping to regulate hunger) and may help suppress inflammation. People with genetic changes in a protein known as lamin A/C suffer from a disease called Familial Partial Lipodystrophy Type 2, a condition in which subcutaneous fat is lost from the limbs and trunk. While fat distribution in these patients is normal initially, subcutaneous fat stores diminish beginning at puberty. As a result, patients experience metabolic abnormalities (including hypercholesterolemia and diabetes mellitus), heart and liver problems, and often, acute pancreatitis. This image shows a portion of a biopsy from a patient suffering from Familial Partial Lipodystrophy Type 2. Lamin A/C (greenish yellow) can be seen circling the nuclei. Compared to a normal skin biopsy, this one is almost devoid of lipid droplets.