Using neonatal skin to study the developmental programming of aging
Numerous studies have examined how both negative and positive maternal exposures (environmental contaminants, nutrition, exercise, etc.) impact offspring risk for age-associated diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and others. The purpose of this study was to introduce the foreskin as a novel model to examine developmental programming in human neonates, particularly in regard to adipogenesis and insulin receptor signaling, major contributors to age-associated diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Neonatal foreskin was collected following circumcision and primary dermal fibroblasts were isolated to perform adipocyte differentiation and insulin stimulation experiments. Human neonatal foreskin primary fibroblasts take up lipid when stimulated with a differentiation cocktail and demonstrate insulin signaling when stimulated with insulin. Thus, we propose that foreskin tissue can be used to study developmental exposures and programming that occur in the neonate as it relates to age-associated diseases such as obesity and diabetes.