07 Apr Scientists Uncover How Obesity Stresses Muscle Cells
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lee Roberts PhD
Professor and Chair of Molecular Physiology and Metabolism
Department of Discovery and Translational Science
Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Medicine
School of Medicine
University of Leeds
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Obesity rates have nearly tripled worldwide since 1975.
In 2016, there were more than 650 million adults aged 18 and above with obesity. Obesity can lead to increased fat in the blood which damages tissues and organs, contributing to the development of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases including type 2 diabetes. This elevated blood fat can damage the cellular organelle responsible for making protein, the endoplasmic reticulum, causing the cell to come under stress and potentially resulting in the cell dying. When this occurs in skeletal muscle it can contribute to features of the metabolic syndrome including metabolic dysfunction and insulin resistance.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: We discovered that this stress in cells caused by blood fat can be transmitted between cells by a signal formed of a type of fat called ceramides. We discovered how the blood fat causes muscle cells to make and transmit the ceramide stress signal. We also investigated how the ceramide signals cause stress in muscle cells.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: By defining the way stressed cells make the ceramide stress signal and understanding how it is released from the cells and causes stress in other cells we highlight potential new targets for therapeutic intervention in metabolic and cardiovascular diseases caused by high blood fats.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: In future, we hope that research will focus on therapies that target this blood fat induced ceramide cell stress signal to determine whether this may prevent severe cardiovascular or metabolic disease in people with high blood fats.
Ben D. McNally, Dean F. Ashley, Lea Hänschke, Hélène N. Daou, Nicole T. Watt, Steven A. Murfitt, Amanda D. V. MacCannell, Anna Whitehead, T. Scott Bowen, Francis W. B. Sanders, Michele Vacca, Klaus K. Witte, Graeme R. Davies, Reinhard Bauer, Julian L. Griffin, Lee D. Roberts. Long-chain ceramides are cell non-autonomous signals linking lipotoxicity to endoplasmic reticulum stress in skeletal muscle. Nature Communications, 2022; 13 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-29363-9
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