Excess Fat Contributes to Cardiovascular Risks in Type 2 Diabetes
By: Felicia Breedy
Guillermo Umpierrez, MD from the Emory University School of Medicine is the recipient of an American Diabetes Association Clinical/Translational Research Award. His research project is entitled: “Free Fatty Acid-induced hypertension and endothelial dysfunction in obese subjects.” Highlighted in the March 26, 2009 issue of HealthNewsDigest.com, Dr. Umpierrez determined that free fatty acids (FFAs) in sustained high levels can contribute to the development of hypertension and inflammation in obese African-Americans.
FFAs are released by the breakdown of fats in fat cells and circulated within the bloodstream. Independent clinical data indicates that increased levels of FFAs can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin resistance. Insulin is produced in the pancreas and controls the entry of glucose into cells to be used for energy.
Using twenty-four African-American patients with type 2 diabetes, normal blood pressure and a body mass index in the obese range, Dr. Umpierrez set out to evaluate the effects of sustained elevations of FFAs on several cardiovascular parameters over a 48 hour period. Research participants were in two groups receiving a lipid (fat) preparation (experimental group) or a saline (control group) infusion. Within four hours, the experimental group had significantly elevated blood pressure that persisted throughout the 48 hours. This group also demonstrated symptoms of endothelial dysfunction- (leading to improper functioning of blood vessels) and an increase in inflammatory markers.
The lipid preparation used in this study is one routinely used to support critically ill patients in the hospital. Based on the data from this study, Dr. Umpierrez’s research team believes alternative formulations are needed. His next FDA approved investigation includes using olive oil as a potential nutrient in hospitalized patients who are fed by injection. He believes that olive oil, which is a monosaturated fatty acid, is a better choice because it causes less inflammation and endothelial dysfunction. The original article appears in the February 2009 issue of the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism.
(Umpierrez GE, Smiley D, Robalino G, Peng L, Kitabchi AE, Khan B, Le A, Quyyumi A, Brown V, Phillips LS. Intravenous intralipid-induced blood pressure elevation and endothelial dysfunction in obese African-Americans with type 2 diabetes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Feb;94(2):609-14.)
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