Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Diabetic hearts make unhealthy switch to high-fat diet


The high-fat "diet" that diabetic heart muscle consumes helps make cardiovascular disease the most common killer of diabetic patients, according to a study done at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The study will appear in the February 7 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and is now available online.

Sixty-five percent of people with diabetes die from heart attack or stroke. When the researchers investigated fuel consumption in heart muscle, they found that heart muscle of type 1 diabetic patients relies heavily on fat and very little on sugar for its energy needs. In contrast, heart muscle in non-diabetics doesn’t have this strong preference for fat and can use either sugar (glucose) or fat for energy, depending on blood composition, hormone levels or how hard the heart is working.

"The diabetic heart’s overdependence on fat could partly explain why diabetic patients suffer more pronounced manifestations of coronary artery disease," says senior author Robert J. Gropler, M.D., professor of radiology, medicine and biomedical engineering and director of the Cardiovascular Imaging Laboratory at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at the School of Medicine. "The heart needs to use much more oxygen to metabolize fats than glucose, making the diabetic heart more sensitive to drops in oxygen levels that occur with coronary artery blockage."

Compared to non-diabetics, diabetic patients often have larger infarctions and suffer more heart failure and sudden death when the heart experiences an ischemic (low-oxygen) event.

In addition, when the diabetic heart burns fat, it accumulates reactive oxygen molecules that interfere with the fuel consumption mechanism and encourage the accumulation of fats in the muscle cells. This can lead to increased inflammation, cell death and heart dysfunction.

The diabetic heart’s reliance on fat molecules for energy was previously observed in experiments using diabetic animals. But this is the first time researchers have confirmed that burning of fatty acids in the heart muscle is increased in humans with diabetes. In this study, 11 healthy, non-diabetic people were compared to 11 otherwise healthy people with type 1 diabetes. The researchers found that the diabetic patients had much higher levels of fats in their blood and had an increased uptake of fatty acids into heart muscle cells.

The cells of diabetic hearts not only absorbed more fat, they also burned a higher percentage of the fats they took in. As a result, diabetic heart muscle used about half as much glucose and four times more fat for energy than the hearts of non-diabetics.

The researchers are now engaged in a larger study of heart muscle metabolism in type 2 diabetics. Patients in the study are divided into two groups with one group receiving standard therapies to normalize blood glucose levels and the other group receiving additional therapies designed to decrease the amount of fat in the blood. The study is still accruing patients, and people with type 2 diabetes who would like to participate can call 314-362-8608.

If the increased blood-fat levels are confirmed to be responsible for the dysfunctional metabolism of diabetic heart muscle, reducing fat levels may become an important way to decrease illness and death from cardiovascular disease in diabetics, according to the authors.

"We believe it’s not enough to control blood glucose in diabetes," Gropler says. "You also have to target fat delivery to the heart. If you decrease the fat delivery through a combination of diet, exercise and drugs, you’ll improve the heart’s ability to use other energy sources, which will improve heart health."

Gwen Ericson | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>