I am focused on understanding how insulin action can be impaired by excess fatty acids, oxidative stress and inflammation, from both cell biology and more global physiological perspectives.
In Europe, 52 million people are living with diabetes, with more than 90% of them having type 2 diabetes (T2D), a multi factorial disease associated with obesity and sedentary lifestyle. Association of obesity with high blood pressure, insulin resistance and/or high circulating fats is a leading cause of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. This cluster of risk factors, defined as the “metabolic syndrome”, is now considered a health epidemic and economic burden of unmanageable proportions.
Insulin resistance is a central problem in the metabolic syndrome and I and others have demonstrated that it can be induced in vitro by either the damaging effects of saturated fatty acids, oxidants or inflammatory cytokines; however, the situation in vivo is far more complex and needs further investigation, as no efficient therapeutic strategies are currently available for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.