Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation: New Research Reported on Diabetes Origins

Article excerpt

New research from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation shows that eating a high-fat diet produces a similar effect to starvation in cells and could be key in understanding why cells "flip the switch" to burn fat instead of sugar in the early stages of diabetes.

Mike Kinter, OMRF scientist, said it started with a simple question: What happens in the heart when people gain weight?

"As people gain weight, it can lead to a series of serious medical issues," he said. "Two of the big ones are Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which are linked."

To see how the heart reacts to obesity, Kinter worked with OMRF researchers Luke Szweda and Paul Rindler to examine the heart cells of mice that were fed a high-fat diet.

"We found that a high-fat diet produces a response that's similar to what happens with starvation - in a sense tricking the cells into choosing fat over glucose," Kinter said. …