Lipoedema is characterized by an abnormal and excessive accumulation of subcutaneous fat. It typically affects the lower and/or upper limbs, resulting in a debilitating disease. The extra fat deposition results in tender, painful, and easily bruising tissue. The onset of lipoedema is usually at puberty and mostly affects women. It is known that sex hormones determine the anatomical site of the accumulation of adipose tissue, and this might be related to the higher prevalence of this disease in women than in men. The global prevalence of lipoedema has been estimated to be around 1–9/100,000. However, epidemiological data may not be accurate because lipoedema can be misdiagnosed and confused with other apparently similar diseases, like obesity and lymphedema. The molecular causes of isolated lipoedema are becoming clearer, and the involvement of the AKR1C1 gene has been recently reported by our research group.
Therefore, our research group focuses on developing a multiomic test that can integrate data from different omics analyses to arrive at a targeted diagnosis of lipoedema. This test can process genomic, metabolomic, lipidomic and proteomic data aimed at identifying involved pathways, but also novel genes or biomarkers associated with this disease. The natural molecules, such as olive tree polyphenols, thanks to their important beneficial properties, contained in typical plants of the Mediterranean diet could modulate pathways involved in lipoedema.
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