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Scientists all over the world are working on the same question facing Paul Titchenell’s lab: what are the pathways that lead to metabolic diseases? This podcast explores what happens between the liver, pancreas, and blood stream during the metabolism process of the human body.

Listen and learn

  • How the Titchenell Lab works to map the signal transduction pathways that insulin uses to coordinate metabolism,
  • Why the liver is the primary focus in these pathway studies, and
  • How the mechanism or action of insulin to maintain lipid synthesis while not controlling blood sugar stands as the biggest mystery.

Paul M. Titchenell is an assistant professor of physiology at the University of Pennsylvania. His lab is trying to understand the basic mechanism of insulin action. He describes their process as a diverse approach through studying cells through the mechanism of insulin action in vivo and in animal models.

Their goal is to understand the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases associated with aberrant insulin action, like insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Like many disease mysteries, he explains that to understand what goes wrong, scientists need to understand what goes right in normal physiology by mapping the signal transduction pathways that insulin uses to coordinate metabolism. 

They are focused on the liver in particular because the liver makes glucose to provide our bodies with energy while we are fasting and/or sleeping. Hormones involved in metabolism include insulin, which tells the liver to stop that glucose production. However, insulin “resistance” can trigger the body to try make even more insulin to maintain that part of the pathway.

At this point, the overproduction of insulin causes problems scientists are trying to understand. The mystery includes the varying levels of metabolic capability at this point. The Titchenell Lab, as well as many other scientists, are trying to understand why insulin continues to promote lipid synthesis in the liver during conditions of insulin resistance while failing to control blood sugar. 

For more, see his lab’s webpage, www.med.upenn.edu/titchenelllab, and find him on Twitter.

Available on Apple Podcasts: apple.co/2Os0myK

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