Parks, Elizabeth Jane, PhD
Insulin resistance in the control of intestinal lipid metabolism
General Research Subject: Insulin Resistance Pre Diabetes
Focus: Integrated Physiology, Integrated Physiology\Fatty Acid Metabolism, Integrated Physiology\Insulin Resistance, Obesity\Pathogenesis
Type of Grant: Translational Science
Project Start Date: January 1, 2013
Project End Date: December 31, 2015
America's preferential consumption of high-fat/high-sugar foods is a driving force in the current epidemic of obesity and insulin resistance. Recent scientific observations suggest that the taste of food may play a role in how the body processes the food eaten in a meal. First, tasting food rapidly causes the intestine to release fats stored from an earlier meal, and second, tasting food is associated with intestinal hormone release that can increase body fat storage. Thus, the intestine may play a central role in all aspects of dietary fat metabolism, from initial encounter with taste buds in the mouth to eventual TG storage in the body.
We hypothesize that elevated blood fats in insulin resistance are a result of elevated intestinal-TG secretion and poor communication of this organ to the rest of the body after meals. In this study, meal feeding and sensory studies will be performed to determine whether the mechanism of taste-associated intestinal signaling leads to higher levels of blood fats after meals in 24 healthy and insulin resistant subjects. Individuals will consume special meals the night before the tests and participate in sensory tests in the morning to analyze the effect of taste.
The goal of this work is to understand how insulin resistance may cause impaired signaling between the taste buds and the intestine to result in an elevation in blood lipids, which increases the risk for other chronic diseases. This study will generate data for a future study to understand how diabetes treatment affects this process.
What area of diabetes research does your project cover? What role will this particular project play in preventing, treating, and curing diabetes?
Elevated body weight is associated with increased risk of diabetes and overweight people may taste food differently than lean people. If they can't taste food as well, this may lead to overeating and slow absorption of the food when it is eaten. The present project will compare how lean and overweight people at risk for diabetes taste food.
If we can understand how the taste of food plays a role in the absorption of fat, then better treatments can be developed to treat high blood lipids and low HDLc that are seen in people at risk for the disease.
If a person with diabetes were to ask you how your project will help them in the future, how would you respond?
Our project will help us understand how the taste of fat in food affects how it is processed in the body after it is eaten. People with type 2 diabetes at those at risk for type 2 diabetes have high blood lipids (triglycerides) and low good cholesterol called HDLc. How food tastes may make this elevation worse.
Why is it important for you, personally, to become involved in diabetes research? What role will this award play in your efforts?
My family has a history of diabetes and elevated blood lipids. This grant will allow me and my lab to investigate a cutting edge concept that connects how food tastes to how it is processed in the body.
In what direction do you see the future of diabetes research going?
I can imagine the future of diabetes research allowing us to understand how different people with diabetes might be best helped. One person's response to food may be different than another person's and these differences may affect how much food we eat, how that food is processed in the body and how our risk for diabetes may be worse after meals. Understanding the relationships between hunger, eating and elevated blood lipids will help us develop better treatments of diabetic dyslipidemia.
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