Metabolic Disease INSIGHTS

DHA's Role in NASH Pathogenesis

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Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is associated with a chronic proinflammatory state of the liver1-3,10. The clinical pathogenesis of NASH progresses from a steatotic/intralobular inflammatory/hepatocellular ballooning state to progressing levels of fibrosis and in later stages, an increased incidence of cirrhosis and/or hepatocellular carcinoma8-13. The etiology underlying this progression remains unknown, nor are there currently any approved therapies other than lifestyle modifications aimed at modulating or mitigating NASH11,12. Identifying...  Read More

What is NASH?

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Recent reports indicate that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are emerging public health threats. NAFLD is a common chronic liver disease, with estimates of incidence around 25% worldwide. NASH represents the more severe end of the NAFLD spectrum, with inflammation and fibrosis which can progress to cirrhosis and even liver cancer. According to Younossi et al., "NAFLD is one of the most important...  Read More

New Treatments for Type I Diabetes

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While there is no cure for diabetes, new treatment options are achieving notable success improving insulin production via stem cell therapy and cell-identity switching. What is Diabetes? Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic disorders in which a patient has higher-than-normal blood sugar levels for prolonged periods. If left untreated, diabetes can cause a plethora of harmful secondary conditions. According to the latest reports from the World...  Read More

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

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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...  Read More

Maternal Diet Modifications in NOD mice Can Alter Disease in Offspring

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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...  Read More

Selecting Translatable NASH Animal Models

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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...  Read More

Time-restricted Feeding to Prevent Obesity in Juveniles?

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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...  Read More

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

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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...  Read More

Modified DIO Protocols Improve Type 2 Diabetes Models

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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...  Read More

Animal Models of Type 2 Diabetes: The GK Rat

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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...  Read More