Maria João Meneses, Inês Ferreira, PhD students, and Inês Lima, Post-doc fellow, all from MEDIR – Metabolic Disorders group, were interviewed by News Farma - a health communication agency, after their poster presentations at the 56th Edition of the Annual European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) , that took place last September online.
The work presented by these CEDOC scientists has a common goal: to better understand and diagnose metabolic disorders like diabetes, obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Maria João Meneses explains it: “Looking at the overall picture, all three works aim at understanding the pathophysiological mechanisms behind metabolic dysfunction and discover better predictors of disease onset.”
Concerning potential metabolic diseases' diagnostic, Inês Ferreira showed that gut-derived exosomes, extracelular vesicles that are able to carry proteins, genetic material and lipids, and are known to have an importante role in the communication between different cells, reflect the same protein profile found in the cells of diet-inuced obese mice. This indicates that gut-derived exosmes can possibly be used as parameters for the diagnostic of type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes. This is "very important because this is the first time that this is being described", says Inês Ferreira.
In addition, Maria João Meneses, discovered that the measurement of two proteins with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects, the Apolipoprotein J and the Paraoxanase-1, is a potential complementary method to diagnose metabolic dysfunction. This was discovered through a cluster analysis using samples from the PREVADIAB2, the Portuguese Diabetes Prevalence Cohort, that has samples from individuals with or without (pre)diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
Regarding the mechanisms of metabolic diseases, Inês Lima demonstrated a that increasing Zonulin protein levels, known to be associated with gut permeability, leads to the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, thus “highlighting the importance of a balanced and non-compromised gut for whole-body homeostasis”, refers the researcher.
Being interviewed by NewsFarma has been a very rewarding experience for the three researchers. Inês Lima finally commented that "we present the work to a different public which may lead to fruitfull discussions with our peers thus improving the outcome of the project".[Photo credits: MEDIR group]
Watch the full interviews: