Hasty, Alyssa , PhD
Function of intrahepatic lymphocytes in the progression of hepatic insulin resistance and steatohepatitis
General Research Subject: Obesity
Focus: Diabetic Dyslipidemia, Integrated Physiology\Liver
Type of Grant: Mentor Based Minority Postdoctoral Fellowship
Project Start Date: January 1, 2011
Project End Date: December 31, 2013
Obesity in the United States has continued to rise over the past 20 years. Obese individuals are at risk for the development of type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH is a disorder characterized by fat accumulation and inflammation in the liver. Inflammation in the liver leads to the activation and recruitment of immune cells. Immune cells modulate the ability of many tissues involved in the development of diabetes such as fat, muscle, and insulin-secreting beta cells to respond properly to glucose and insulin. However, recently, a role for these immune cells in altering the sensitivity of liver cells to insulin has also been suggested. Preliminary evidence suggests that a specific subset of immune cells called T lymphocytes may play a role in this process. The purpose of this research is to determine the role of T lymphocytes in the development of NASH. Understanding this relationship will help to identify treatments for NASH and type 2 diabetes.
What area of diabetes research does your project cover? What role will this particular project play in preventing, treating and/or curing diabetes?
Recent studies have demonstrated that obesity leads to chronic inflammation. Key regulators of inflammation are immune cells. Therefore to understand the development of obesity associated type II diabetes and fatty liver disease, this project is aimed at understanding the role of immune cells in the development of obesity associated type II diabetes and fatty liver disease. This project will provide insight to the role of immune cells in the development of type II diabetes which can lead to the development of therapeutic targets aimed at immune cell function leading to the treatment of type II diabetes and fatty liver disease.
If a person with diabetes were to ask you how your project will help them in the future, how would you respond?
Type II diabetes is strongly associated with a number of metabolic disorders such as obesity and fatty liver disease. One common characteristic of these metabolic disorders is chronic inflammation. Immune cells are key regulators of inflammation. However it is currently unknown which immune cells contribute to the development of obesity associated diabetes and fatty liver disease. This project will help to identify immune cells and their function in the development of type II diabetes and fatty liver disease. Once we are able to identify the immune cells responsible for the progression of these metabolic disorders, therapeutic targets for the prevention and treatment of type II diabetes can be identified.
Why is it important for you, personally, to become involved in diabetes research? What role will this award play in your research efforts?
It is important for me to be involved in diabetes research because this disorder affects a vast number of the US population. Due to the rise in obesity in the US, the rate of diabetes has increased. This not only affects adults but also children. Therefore it is imperative to identify safe and effective treatments for diabetes. In order to treat this disorder we must understand the development of diabetes.
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