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The Paediatric obesity and cardiovascular risk research group is led by Dr. Abel López Bermejo since 2008. The research is aimed at identifying new metabolic, genetic, and epigenetic markers in early life stages (prenatal, perinatal, and early childhood) that indicate which infants are at greater risk of having cardiometabolic disorders and obesity in adulthood.

The research team leads multiple competitive research projects and oversees several doctoral and master's theses in this line of research. It has the collaboration of research, clinical and health care personnel at national and international levels. Multiple publications in international indexed journals are noteworthy in the group’s trajectory. In recent years, we have characterized several metabolic, genetic and epigenetic markers in relation to alterations in pre- and post-natal growth and metabolic dysfunction in school-age children.

Main lines of research

The group's main research line is the identification of markers in childhood for early prevention of cardiometabolic risk and obesity in adulthood.

The group's research lines below:

  • Prevention of obesity and cardiovascular risk in childhood.
    • Molecular bases / pathophysiology of childhood obesity.
    • Study of cardiovascular risk markers in childhood.

 

Study: Longitudinal clinical study in healthy pregnant-neonatal cohorts and prepuberal children from health centres in Girona.

Objective: To characterize new cardiometabolic risk markers in the paediatric age as well as to investigate possible mechanisms related to the onset of metabolic and cardiovascular disorders.

Methods: clinical, biochemical, imaging, and in vitro studies.

Financing: Consolidated line of research with FIS PI07 / 0404 and PI10 / 0053 projects.

 

  • Epigenetics of development.
    • Identification of the prenatal and postnatal bases of metabolic programming.
    • MicroRNAs study, DNA methylation and genetic imprinting.

 

Study:  Longitudinal clinical study in cohorts of healthy pregnant women included in the health areas of Girona and the Hospital Universitari de Girona Dr. Josep Trueta.

Objective:  Identifying epigenetic marks (microRNAs and DNA methylation) in the placenta and umbilical cord as new markers of susceptibility to metabolic diseases and cardiovascular risk. The studies involve both healthy new-borns and new-borns with alterations in prenatal development (maternal overnutrition or restriction of foetal growth) and also prepuberal children. The line also focuses on the study of genetic imprinting and the involvement of genes imprinted with a susceptibility to developing metabolic and cardiovascular diseases in adulthood.

Methods: Clinical, biochemical, imaging, and in vivo studies (  development of animal models for the analysis of epigenetic marks in metabolic regulation tissues -liver and adipose tissue- of offspring).

Financing: Consolidated line of research with FIS PI13/ 01257, PI13 / 01257 and PI19 / 00451 projects.

 

  • New technologies applied to health
    • Application and utility of new technologies for the monitoring of new-borns.

 

Study: Clinical study in neonates born at the Hospital Universitari de Girona Dr. Josep Trueta.

Objective: To develop smart systems for the health care of patients in order to provide health solutions in general, and specifically, for the monitoring of neonates at home.

Methods: Medical sensors and smartphones or low-cost smartphones coordinated telematically for health care.

Financing: Research line funded with the European ITEA2-ip11027 project; IPT-2012-0943-300000 INNPACTO.

 

  • Physiopathology and treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome (POS) in adolescents.

 

Study: clinical study in adolescents and young women with POS included in the Girona health area and the Hospital Universitari de Girona Dr. Josep Trueta.

Objective: To develop a new effective treatment for POS, a chronic endocrine-metabolic disorder often associated with obesity, based on the study of its pathophysiology. The study will focus on the reduction of hepatic and visceral fat mass in precocious stages of the disease in order to reduce the risk of cardiometabolic morbidity and anovulatory subfertility.

Methods: Clinical trial using medications with a metabolic and endocrine action and their combination, to reverse the POS phenotype.

Funding: Line of research funded with the European H2020-SC1-2020-two-stage-RTD SPIOMET4HEALTH 899671-2.

Strategic objectives

General:

  • Promote research in the area of paediatric endocrinology.
  • Design new disease prevention and patient assistance strategies.
  • Establish research collaborations with national and international groups for the main lines of research.

Specific:

  • Generating new advances in clinical research in paediatric obesity and cardiovascular risk.
  • Seek new epigenetic marks in early ages of life for identifying populations at risk of developing metabolic and cardiovascular disease in adulthood.
  • Identify new targets and therapeutic molecules in childhood obesity.
Publications

Carreras-Badosa G, Gómez-Vilarrubla A, Mas-Parés B, Martínez-Calcerrada JM, Xargay-Torrent S, Prats-Puig A, Puerto-Carranza E, Díaz-Roldán F, de Zegher F, Ibañez L, Bassols J, López-Bermejo A

A 24-month metformin treatment study of children with obesity: Changes in circulating GDF-15 and associations with changes in body weight and visceral fat.

Pediatric Obesity, 2022, 17 dx.doi.org/10.1111/ijpo.12845
0

Effects of Crawling before Walking: Network Interactions and Longitudinal Associations in 7-Year-Old Children.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND PUBLIC HEALTH, 2022, 19 dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095561
0

TSH and FT4 reference intervals in pregnancy: a systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis.

JOURNAL OF CLINICAL ENDOCRINOLOGY & METABOLISM, 2022, 107, 2925-2933 dx.doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgac425
0

microRNAs in newborns with low birth weight: relation to birth size and body composition.

PEDIATRIC RESEARCH, 2022, 92, 829-837 dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41390-021-01845-4
0

Association of thyroid peroxidase antibodies and thyroglobulin antibodies with thyroid function in pregnancy - an individual participant data meta-analysis.

Thyroid, 2022, 32, 828-840 dx.doi.org/10.1089/thy.2022.0083
0

Metabolic programming in the offspring after gestational overfeeding in the mother: toward neonatal rescuing with metformin in a swine model.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF OBESITY, 2022, 46, 1018-1026 dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41366-022-01076-5
0

Association between maternal thyroid function and risk of gestational hypertension and pre-eclampsia: a systematic review and individual-participant data meta-analysis.

LANCET DIABETES & ENDOCRINOLOGY, 2022, 10, 243-252 dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(22)00007-9
0

Posterior Cervical Brown Fat and CXCL14 levels in the First Year of Life: Sex Differences and Association with Adiposity.

JOURNAL OF CLINICAL ENDOCRINOLOGY & METABOLISM, 2022, 107, 1148-1158 dx.doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgab761

Garcia-Beltran C, Malpique R, Carbonetto B, González-Torres P, Henares D, Brotons P, Muñoz-Almagro C, López-Bermejo A, de Zegher F, Ibáñez L

Gut microbiota in adolescent girls with polycystic ovary syndrome: Effects of randomized treatments.

Pediatric Obesity, 2021, 16 dx.doi.org/10.1111/ijpo.12734
Competitive projects
Codi oficial: CD19/00172 Start date:01/01/2020 Data fi: 26/06/2023 Investigador/a principal: ABEL LÓPEZ BERMEJO Organisme finançador: INSTITUTO DE SALUD CARLOS III Ajuda: 80,598 €
Codi oficial: FI20/00138 Start date:01/01/2021 Data fi: 31/12/2024 Investigador/a principal: ABEL LÓPEZ BERMEJO Organisme finançador: INSTITUTO DE SALUD CARLOS III Ajuda: 82,400 €
Codi oficial: 2021 FI_B 000293 Start date:01/07/2021 Data fi: 30/06/2024 Investigador/a principal: ABEL LÓPEZ BERMEJO Organisme finançador: AGENCIA DE GESTIO D'AJUTS UNIV. I RECER. Ajuda: 66,600.75 €
Codi oficial: ICI21/00005 Start date:01/01/2022 Data fi: 31/12/2025 Investigador/a principal: ABEL LÓPEZ BERMEJO Organisme finançador: INSTITUTO DE SALUD CARLOS III Ajuda: 193,256.37 €
Codi oficial: MINISPIOMET Start date:01/01/2022 Data fi: 31/12/2025 Investigador/a principal: ABEL LÓPEZ BERMEJO Organisme finançador: INSTITUTO DE SALUD CARLOS III Ajuda: 193,256.37 €
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