Posted September 17, 2015

Schools of Pharmacy, Medicine study links calorie increase to Type 2 diabetes

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A new Temple study has found that the early signs of Type 2 diabetes can appear in a healthy individual shortly after engaging in a high-calorie diet.

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly omitted Salim Merali, professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Temple’s School of Pharmacy and study co-author. Temple Now apologizes for this error.


A new study led by Salim Merali and Guenther Boden at Temple’s Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine is sparking national interest.


Published Sept. 9 in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the study found that troubling early warnings signs of Type 2 diabetes can develop in healthy individuals after only a few days of overeating.


The researchers set out to understand how obesity leads to Type 2 diabetes. They asked six healthy men to consume 6,000 calories per day while on bed rest. After just two or three days, the researchers found that the volunteers developed insulin resistance, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, the development of insulin resistance was significantly associated with an increase in a reliable urinary marker of oxidative stress.

“Surprisingly, insulin resistance was not associated with free fatty acid, inflammatory cytokines and endoplasmic reticulum stress in adipose tissue. The oxidative stress then caused a change in a protein that transports glucose (GLUT4). This is the first demonstration in humans of a direct mechanistic link between excessive nutrient intake and the development of insulin resistance. We may have found the initial events that are responsible for the insulin resistance," said Merali, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Temple.

According to Merali, the new findings suggest that treatments that use antioxidants might help prevent insulin resistance.

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