The Plastic Surgery Foundation
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Grants We Funded

In 2019, The Plastic Surgery Foundation (The PSF) awarded 33 investigator-initiated projects and allocated $891,274 to support the newest, clinically relevant research in plastic surgery.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons/PSF leadership is committed to continuing to provide high levels of investigator-initiated research support to ensure that plastic surgeons have the needed research resources to be pioneers and innovators in advancing the practice of medicine.

Research Abstracts

Search The PSF database to have easy access to full-text grant abstracts from past PSF-funded research projects 2003 to present. All abstracts are the work of the Principal Investigators and were retrieved from their PSF grant applications. Several different filters may be applied to locate abstracts specific to a particular focus area, or PSF funding mechanism.

The Role of Leptin in Calciphylaxis

Principal Investigator
Peter Broer MD


Yale University

Funding Mechanism
Pilot Research Grant

Focus Area
Wounds / Scar, Other

Plastic surgeons are often asked to help in the management of calciphylactic wounds. Calciphylaxis is a poorly understood and highly morbid syndrome of vascular calcification and skin necrosis. Factors implicated in the pathogenesis of calciphylaxis include chronic renal failure, obesity, diabetes, hyperphosphatenemia and secondary hyperparathyroidism. We wish to propose a novel hypothesis that leptin produced by the parathyroid gland is an important pathogenic factor in this complex disease. This is of particular importance since the reported mortality rate of calciphylaxis is between 60-80%. Calciphylaxis was originally thought to be secondary to elevated calcium and phosphate levels and hence parathyroidectomy was performed in an effort to treat this pathology. However decrease in calcium levels did not alter the course of the disease process thereby implicating the presence of another factor. Leptin is a well known adipocyte hormone which has pleiotropic functions including control of body weight, reproduction, angiogenesis and, as found recently, bone mass (1). This hormone has never been shown to be present in parathyroid tissue. We wish to propose a novel hypothesis that leptin is also an important calcium regulatory hormone secreted by the parathyroid gland which may influence the pathogenesis of calciphylaxis.

To this end we will
1. Confirm the presence of leptin (ob) and its receptor (ob-R) (long and short forms) in normal and abnormal parathyroid tissue (adenomas and hyperplasia)
2. Measure the variations in serum leptin levels in humans following removal of pathologic parathyroid tissue, i.e. resection of solitary adenomas or near complete parathyroidectomy (3.5 gland resection) for hyperplasia or resection in the setting of surgical treatment of calciphylaxis
3. Identify the presence of leptin and leptin receptors in calciphylactic tissue
4. Identify pathways involved in the leptin mediated control of calcium regulation using whole tissue cult

Dr. Broer obtained his medical degree from the Technical University in Munich, Germany and subsequently began his plastic surgery residency at the Department of Surgery, Section of Plastic Surgery at Yale University. Throughout his training Dr. Broer continued to be involved in ongoing basic science and clinical research projects under the supervision of Deepak Narayan, Associate Professor, and John A. Persing, Professor & Chief, Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Yale University. During this period Dr. Broer has received several awards and recognitions. Focus of his research has been the investigation of molecular pathways in the pathogenesis of melanoma including Inteleukin-1 receptor antagonist gene polymorphisms (funded by the OHSE grant and awarded the 2010 Yale Plastic Surgery Research Award) as well as biomechanical studies of tendon repairs in cadaveric hand models. With the support of the Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation (PSEF), Dr. Broer will perform research to clarify the role of Leptin in the pathogenesis of calciphylaxis by correlating the presence of Leptin in parathyroid glands and serum of patients suffering from this poorly understood disease.