New mechanism to prevent type 2 diabetes in obese individuals

May 17, 2013
New mechanism to prevent type 2 diabetes in obese individuals
Nathalie St-Pierre, Catherine Leroux, Simon Bissonnette, Annie Tardif, Dany Gauthier, Robert Dufour, May Faraj, Valérie Lamantia, Hanny Wassef. Credit: IRCM

A new Montréal study conducted by Dr. May Faraj, associate research professor at the Université de Montréal and invited scientist at the IRCM, along with her research team and medical collaborators, shows that the number of particles carrying bad cholesterol in the blood is an important factor in promoting the risk for type 2 diabetes in obese individuals. Their results are published in the May issue of the Journal of Lipid Research. This scientific breakthrough may help prevent diabetes by targeting treatments to higher-risk individuals.

Dr. Faraj's research aims at exploring new mechanisms that could favour the development of and various dietary interventions that may help prevent diabetes within the Canadian population. For this project, her team studied the function of the (or body fat), which is specialized in storing excess energy from the diet as fat. In humans, adipose tissue is primarily located beneath skin, but can also be found around .

"Following a meal, dietary fat is transported to different locations in the body, including adipose tissue," says Dr. Faraj. "However, if the adipose tissue is not functioning properly, fat accumulates instead in non-adipose tissue such as the liver, muscle and pancreas, which decreases the body's ability to utilize . Many people have a common misconception that it is better to block adipose tissue function to reduce obesity but, in fact, poorly-functional adipose tissue can increase the risk for type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases."

The accumulation of fat in the liver increases the production of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the particles commonly referred to as "." While the human body needs a normal level of LDL to ensure cell growth and repair, high levels can cause a build-up of plaque in the . This subsequently leads to narrowing of the arteries and increased risk of heart attack and stroke. A high number of LDL particles is also an established risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

"We examined the relationship between the number of LDL particles and adipose tissue function in postmenopausal overweight and obese women," explain Simon Bissonnette and Huda Salem, graduate students on Dr. Faraj's team and first authors of the study. "These women were all considered healthy because they were non-smokers, did not take any medication and did not have any chronic diseases like diabetes or cardiovascular disease. We discovered that a high number of LDL particles is not only a consequence of dysfunctional adipose tissue, but that it also plays an active role in causing adipose tissue to become less functional."

"Our study's results suggest that reducing the number of LDL particles can improve adipose tissue function and, in turn, reduce the risk of developing both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in ," adds Dr. Faraj. "This discovery may help us identify people with a higher risk of developing such cardiometabolic diseases and target them with pharmaceutical or dietary interventions to prevent the onset of disease."

"The Canadian Institutes of Health Research is proud to support Dr. May Faraj in leading her team to make these discoveries that will positively impact the health of Canadians," says Dr. Phil Sherman, Scientific Director at CIHR's Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes. "Arming Canadians with information about whether they are at risk for type 2 and how they can avoid it is key to lowering the rate of this preventable condition." /2

For more information, please refer to the article summary published online by the Journal of Lipid Research: www.jlr.org/content/54/5/1466.

Explore further: Discovery of new hormone opens doors to new type 2 diabetes treatments

Related Stories

Discovery of new hormone opens doors to new type 2 diabetes treatments

May 7, 2013
Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers have discovered that a particular type of protein (hormone) found in fat cells helps regulate how glucose (blood sugar) is controlled and metabolized (used for energy) in ...

Low HDL-cholesterol—Not quantity, but quality

April 30, 2013
Many of the genes regulating the inflammation and immune response of the body are also associated with low HDL-cholesterol levels in the circulation, tells the recent study conducted at the University of Helsinki, Finland. ...

Obese adults with excess abdominal fat, insulin resistance may have higher risk of type 2 diabetes

September 18, 2012
Obese adults with excess visceral fat (fat located inside the abdominal cavity, around the body's internal organs) and biomarkers of insulin resistance had an associated increased risk for the development of type 2 diabetes ...

Canadian scientists discover cause of high cholesterol

October 28, 2012
Canadian scientists have discovered that a protein called resistin, secreted by fat tissue, causes high levels of "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL), increasing the risk of heart disease.

Study shows answers for treating obesity-related diseases may reside in fat tissue

July 4, 2011
Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) have shown that the quality – not just the quantity – of adipose, or fat, tissue is a significant contributing factor in ...

Recommended for you

A sodium surprise: Engineers find unexpected result during cardiac research

July 20, 2017
Irregular heartbeat—or arrhythmia—can have sudden and often fatal consequences. A biomedical engineering team at Washington University in St. Louis examining molecular behavior in cardiac tissue recently made a surprising ...

Want to win at sports? Take a cue from these mighty mice

July 20, 2017
As student athletes hit training fields this summer to gain the competitive edge, a new study shows how the experiences of a tiny mouse can put them on the path to winning.

'Smart' robot technology could give stroke rehab a boost

July 19, 2017
Scientists say they have developed a "smart" robotic harness that might make it easier for people to learn to walk again after a stroke or spinal cord injury.

Engineered liver tissue expands after transplant

July 19, 2017
Many diseases, including cirrhosis and hepatitis, can lead to liver failure. More than 17,000 Americans suffering from these diseases are now waiting for liver transplants, but significantly fewer livers are available.

Lunatic Fringe gene plays key role in the renewable brain

July 19, 2017
The discovery that the brain can generate new cells - about 700 new neurons each day - has triggered investigations to uncover how this process is regulated. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Jan and Dan Duncan ...

New animal models for hepatitis C could pave the way for a vaccine

July 19, 2017
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the case of hepatitis C—a disease that affects nearly 71 million people worldwide, causing cirrhosis and liver cancer if left untreated—it might be worth ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.