Medical Student Research Fellowship for Summer 2010
Mentor: Tracey Wright, MD
Department: Pediatrics; Division of Rheumatology
Room number: CMC F6224
Mail Code: 9063
Phone number: 214-456-7288
Project title: Obesity and Insulin Resistance in Pediatric Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Human subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): (IRB # 122008-042)
Animal subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): n/a
Project Type (patient-based research, animal-based research, or basic research; this characterization is only to permit a general classification for grouping similar types of projects)
Brief Description of Project:
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a severe multi-system autoimmune disease
that is usually complicated by major organ dysfunction and results in a 50-fold
increased risk of myocardial infarction in young adults. Most children and adolescents
with SLE are treated with glucocorticoids (GC) to suppress inflammation. GC
therapy is immunosuppressive and may cause deleterious side effects, including
weight gain and hypertension. The relationship between GC therapy and obesity
in SLE has not been well characterized, nor has the presence of cachectic obesity,
a dangerous body composition pattern characterized by excess fat mass and low
Obese children often develop the metabolic syndrome, a cluster of biochemical and physical findings occurring in obese children and adults associated with high cardiovascular risk and death in adults. Visceral adiposity, insulin resistance, and inflammation are key elements of the metabolic syndrome. The metabolic syndrome has been estimated to occur in 18-32% of adult SLE.
The early cardiovascular morbidity and mortality observed in SLE is thought to be the result of both immune dysregulation and traditional cardiovascular risk factors, including high BMI and diabetes. This project seeks to define factors that contribute to obesity and metabolic syndrome in pediatric SLE. SLE and control subjects are currently being enrolled to complete a single study visit where they undergo a whole body DXA scan, anthropometry and maturation assessment, and venous blood draw. They also complete questionnaires related to socioeconomic status, diet, physical function and activity. The medical student will assist with subject recruitment and enrollment and accompany subjects during study visits. The medical student will perform chart abstraction and enter data into a secure Microsoft Access database.
Previous Research Activities or Publications with Medical Students:
2 medical students worked with our research team during the summer of 2009. The following abstracts were presented at the 2010 UT Southwestern Medical Student Research Forum
" "An Assessment of Demographic and Environmental Risk Factors for Obesity in Pediatric Systemic Lupus Erythematosus"
" "Traditional Risk Factors for Premature Atherosclerosis are Prevalent
in Pediatric Systemic Lupus Erythematosus"