Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease INSIGHTS


Pros and Cons of Statins

HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, or Statins, are a class of lipid-lowering medications prescribed to reduce the risk of developing heart disease. First introduced to the market in 1987, statins are one of the most commonly prescribed medications today with around 40 million users in the US alone annually1,2. However, new studies have questioned whether statins are over-prescribed and if they are causing more harm to certain patients than...

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Modelling Autophagy in Cellular Processes

Autophagy in Cellular Processes Autophagy is derived from Greek and means self(auto)-eating(phagy). This process occurs in all eukaryotic cell types that contain a lysosomal compartment. In fact, basal autophagy contributes to long-lived protein degradation, organelle turnover in the cytoplasm, and the recycling of macromolecules to maintain bioenergetics1. The purpose of autophagy is not solely the simple elimination of materials, but rather the dynamic recycling of cellular components...

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Webinar Q&A — Using Diet-Induced Obese Mice to Study Metabolic Disease

In a recent webinar, Dr. Michael Briggs and Mrs. Nikole Siegmund of Woodland Biosciences discussed use of diet-induced obese (DIO) mice for metabolic disease research. The speakers explained how DIO mice can be used in a range of study types, including: Obesity reduction Obesity-related inflammation Diabetes readouts such as glucose Obesity-related cancer Examples of typical studies using real (anonymized) data were shown. Obesity-driven metabolic diseases, including non-alcoholic...

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Maternal Diet Modifications in NOD mice Can Alter Disease in Offspring

On February 2, 2018, researchers at The Bartholin Institute, Biocenter in Copenhagen, Denmark, published a paper titled Gluten‐free diet during pregnancy alleviates signs of diabetes and celiac disease in NOD mouse offspring in the journal Diabetes Metabolism Research Reviews. NOD mice have been the model of choice for autoimmune Type 1 diabetes research for over 30 years as they are a polygenic model of diabetes that mimic...

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The Importance of Long QT Syndrome Research

April 17, 2002 was a day of record breaking heat in New York State. The day is very clear in my mind for several reasons; it was my last birthday in my 20s, I had just bought my first house (and was taking the week to paint as I had not planned on the heat), and my niece was rushed to the hospital after an episode of...

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Selecting Translatable NASH Animal Models

The global obesity epidemic has pushed associated liver diseases to the forefront of research, yet no existing animal model of NASH or NAFLD fully recapitulates its clinical presentation. This presents a challenge for effective study design: how do you select the most appropriate and translatable animal model for studying the pathophysiology of NASH? Causes of NASH in Humans Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects 30-40% of US...

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Time-restricted Feeding to Prevent Obesity in Juveniles?

There is a growing body of evidence that time-restricted feeding (TRF), for example limiting eating to the active versus inactive phase for a particular species, can impact weight gain and development of obesity. Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the Central Norway Regional Health Authority, and Trondheim University Hospital recently demonstrated that TRF restricts weight gain in juvenile rats. Most previous literature on the...

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An Orphan no more: GFRAL identified as receptor for weight regulator GDF15

While wild type mice administered GDF15 lose weight, Gfral knockout mice are resistant to the effects of GDF15. Figure from Hsu, J-Y, et al1. Four independent research groups recently identified the previously orphan receptor GFRAL as the receptor for GDF15. The simultaneous publications, one in Nature1 and three in Nature Medicine2,3,4, show that GFRAL expression is restricted to brainstem regions in mice and that GDF15 acts through...

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Modified DIO Protocols Improve Type 2 Diabetes Models

Animal models of diet-induced obesity (DIO) are commonly used to model metabolic syndrome, but have some limitations. Can a modified DIO protocol produce better type 2 diabetes models? Developing Modified DIO Protocols DIO C57BL/6 mice are obese, glucose intolerant, insulin resistant, and display mild hyperglycemia. To better model Type 2 diabetes, researchers at the University of Colorado and NYU Langone Medical Center recently developed a modified protocol...

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Animal Models of Type 2 Diabetes: The GK Rat

Studying the long-term complications of diabetic pathology is more relevant than ever, driving increased interest in animal models of type 2 diabetes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the number of people with diabetes (includes both type 1 and type 2) has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. "[Diabetes] is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke, and...

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