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A primary obstacle in translating genetic associations with disease into therapeutic strategies is elucidating the cellular programs affected by genetic risk variants and effector genes. Here, we introduce LipocyteProfiler, a cardiometabolic-disease-oriented high-content image-based profiling tool that enables evaluation of thousands of morphological and cellular profiles that can be systematically linked to genes and genetic variants relevant to cardiometabolic disease. We show that LipocyteProfiler allows surveillance of diverse cellular programs by generating rich context- and process-specific cellular profiles across hepatocyte and adipocyte cell-state transitions. We use LipocyteProfiler to identify known and novel cellular mechanisms altered by polygenic risk of metabolic disease, including insulin resistance, fat distribution, and the polygenic contribution to lipodystrophy. LipocyteProfiler paves the way for large-scale forward and reverse deep phenotypic profiling in lipocytes and provides a framework for the unbiased identification of causal relationships between genetic variants and cellular programs relevant to human disease.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell genomics

Publication Date





Programs in Metabolism and Medical and Population Genetics, Type 2 Diabetes Systems Genomics Initiative, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.