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The symphony of metabolic processes and what gets them out of step
Metabolic processes take place continuously in the body. Food is constantly being broken down, tissues built up and degradation products disposed of. However, these processes are not chaotic and uncontrolled, but are all interlinked. An international study now provides previously unknown insights into metabolism and identifies which time slots are particularly good for therapies against obesity and overweight.
So that there are no interactions between the metabolic processes, the processes are sorted in so-called circadian or 24-hour rhythms. This is reported by researchers from the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the University of California-Irvine in cooperation with the German Center for Diabetes Research. The study results, which were recently published in the renowned journal "Cell", offer unprecedented insight into the body-wide interplay of metabolism.
Comprehensive insights into metabolism
The research team documented the metabolism of mice in a 24 hour cycle. Different tissue groups such as muscles, liver, brown and white adipose tissue, blood serum and sperm as well as different types of nutrition such as normal and high-fat food were examined.
The Metabolic Orchestra
"You can imagine the metabolism like an orchestra," explains Dr. Dominik Lutter, group leader at the Institute for Diabetes and Obesity (IDO) at the Helmholtz Zentrum München in a press release on the study results. In order to achieve harmony, individual instruments could not simply play as freely as they want, but had to adhere to a given bar. The same applies to metabolism. The rhythm would be set by the circadian rhythms, according to Lutter.
Fat or normal diet - the metabolism notices it
"In order to understand how nutrition influences the temporal coordination of the tissues and the 24-hour metabolism, we collected the data for normal and high-fat diets," report the scientist Dr. Kenneth Dyar and Dominik Lutter, the study's lead author. “It is already known that high-fat food disrupts the 24-hour rhythm and that this can cause metabolic diseases. Based on the temporal analysis of tissue metabolism, it was now possible to determine how the metabolism changes in obesity and diabetes.
Which gets your metabolism off the beat
The research team was able to show how too much fat in the diet messes up the metabolism. With a normal diet, the scientists were able to determine a very regulated process of energy production from fat and sugar in the muscles. “With a high-fat diet, however, this typical pattern was completely lost and the fat metabolism dominated,” explains Kenneth Dyar. These changes would also affect the insulin resistance of the muscle cells, which could result.
Everything has it's time
Overall, the study shows an overview of the point in time at which the respective metabolic processes take place. From these previously unknown contexts, a time window would also open up for when metabolically active drugs could be used particularly effectively.
The conductor of the Metabolic Symphony
"If you want to stick to the picture with the orchestra, we now have a first score of the metabolism in hand," summarizes Lutter. The delicate interplay of the instruments is now understood. The next step was to learn how to act as a conductor of the orchestra so that it could play in harmony again when it got out of sync. (vb)