Obesity, dyslipidemia, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes mellitus are frequently encountered in our society, and have important co-morbidities. Environmental factors play an important role in their pathogenesis.

Of environmental factors, diet plays a prominent role in metabolic disorders. Overfeeding with simple sugars (fructose, sucrose) or saturated fat leads, in rodents, to the development of obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes, but the effect of similar dietary changes in humans remain poorly understood. The studies performed in the human metabolism laboratory aim at assessing how short- or medium-term changes in diet affects carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in humans. The effect of diet composition on intracytoplasmic triglyceride stores of non-adipocyte cells (more specifically in the liver and skeletal muscle, so called “ectopic lipids”), and the relationship between such ectopic lipids and insulin resistance is a major focus of these studies.

These studies are performed in normal weight and obese or diabetic human subjects, and use various functional metabolic procedures, including: indirect calorimetry, glucose/insulin clamps, in vivo microdialysis , gene expression profiling in adipose and muscle biopsies (in collaboration with prof H. Vidal in Lyon), and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (in collaboration with prof C. Boesch in Bern).

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