Tabas research image

Belly Fat Promotes Diabetes Under Orders from Liver

In obese mice, a liver enzyme inflames fat, increasing insulin resistance

April 4, 2018

The fat that builds up deep in the abdomen—more than any other type of body fat—raises the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Researchers have known that abdominal fat becomes dangerous when it becomes inflamed but have had a hard time determining what causes the inflammation.

A new study at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC), led by Dr. Ira Tabas, M.D., Ph.D., has revealed that at least one of the culprits for this mysterious inflammation comes from the liver. The researchers found that, in obese mice, the liver increases its production of an enzyme called DPP4. This enzyme travels through the blood stream to abdominal fat. Once inside fat tissue, DPP4 helps to activate inflammatory cells.

The good news is that this inflammation can be soothed by turning off DPP4 production in the liver, as the researchers demonstrated in mice. And even though the animals remained obese, soothing inflamed abdominal fat improved their insulin resistance.

The study by Tabas' team—including lead author Devram Ghorpade, PhD, associate research scientist, and co-corresponding author, Lale Ozcan, MD, assistant professor of medical science—was recently published online in Nature - The International Journal of Science.


Click HERE to read the full story in CUMC Newsroom.



Research, Diabetes