MONTREAL, May 14, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - A new Montréal study conducted by Dr. May Faraj, associate research professor at the Université de
Montréal and invited scientist at the IRCM, along with her research
team and medical collaborators, shows that the number of particles
carrying bad cholesterol in the blood is an important factor in
promoting the risk for type 2 diabetes in obese individuals. Their
results are published in the May issue of the Journal of Lipid Research. This scientific breakthrough may help prevent diabetes by targeting
treatments to higher-risk individuals.
Dr. Faraj's research aims at exploring new mechanisms that could favour
the development of type 2 diabetes and various dietary interventions
that may help prevent diabetes within the Canadian population. For this
project, her team studied the function of the adipose tissue (or body
fat), which is specialized in storing excess energy from the diet as
fat. In humans, adipose tissue is primarily located beneath skin, but
can also be found around internal organs.
"Following a meal, dietary fat is transported to different locations in
the body, including adipose tissue," says Dr. Faraj. "However, if the
adipose tissue is not functioning properly, fat accumulates instead in
non-adipose tissue such as the liver, muscle and pancreas, which
decreases the body's ability to utilize dietary sugar. Many people have
a common misconception that it is better to block adipose tissue
function to reduce obesity but, in fact, poorly-functional adipose
tissue can increase the risk for type 2 diabetes and other
The accumulation of fat in the liver increases the production of
low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the particles commonly referred to as
"bad cholesterol." While the human body needs a normal level of LDL to
ensure cell growth and repair, high levels can cause a build-up of
plaque in the artery walls. This subsequently leads to narrowing of the
arteries and increased risk of heart attack and stroke. A high number
of LDL particles is also an established risk factor for cardiovascular
"We examined the relationship between the number of LDL particles and
adipose tissue function in postmenopausal overweight and obese women,"
explain Simon Bissonnette and Huda Salem, graduate students on Dr.
Faraj's team and first authors of the study. "These women were all
considered healthy because they were non-smokers, did not take any
medication and did not have any chronic diseases like diabetes or
cardiovascular disease. We discovered that a high number of LDL
particles is not only a consequence of dysfunctional adipose tissue,
but that it also plays an active role in causing adipose tissue to
become less functional."
"Our study's results suggest that reducing the number of LDL particles
can improve adipose tissue function and, in turn, reduce the risk of
developing both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in obese
individuals," adds Dr. Faraj. "This discovery may help us identify
people with a higher risk of developing such cardiometabolic diseases
and target them with pharmaceutical or dietary interventions to prevent
the onset of disease."
"The Canadian Institutes of Health Research is proud to support Dr. May
Faraj in leading her team to make these discoveries that will
positively impact the health of Canadians," says Dr. Phil Sherman,
Scientific Director at CIHR's Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and
Diabetes. "Arming Canadians with information about whether they are at
risk for type 2 diabetes and how they can avoid it is key to lowering
the rate of this preventable condition."
About the research project
Several IRCM researchers collaborated in this study, including Robert
Dufour (Director of the Nutrition, Metabolism and Atherosclerosis
clinic), Alexis Baass (medical consultant), Hanny Wassef, Nathalie
St-Pierre, and Annie Tardif, as well as members of the research
platform on obesity, metabolism and diabetes (PROMD). The research
project was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).
For more information, please refer to the article summary published
online by the Journal of Lipid Research: http://www.jlr.org/content/54/5/1466.
About May Faraj
May Faraj obtained a PhD in Experimental Medicine from McGill
University. She is an associate research professor in the Department of
Nutrition at the Université de Montréal, and an invited scientist in
the Metabolic Diseases research unit at the IRCM. Dr. Faraj is also a
Principal Investigator at the Montreal Diabetes Research Center and a
member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec. She holds
a New Investigator Award from CIHR and is a Junior 2 Research Scholar
from the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé. For more information,
About the IRCM
Founded in 1967, the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (www.ircm.qc.ca) is currently comprised of 36 research units in various fields, namely
immunity and viral infections, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases,
cancer, neurobiology and development, systems biology and medicinal
chemistry. It also houses three specialized research clinics, eight
core facilities and three research platforms with state-of-the-art
equipment. The IRCM employs 425 people and is an independent
institution affiliated with the Université de Montréal. The IRCM Clinic
is associated to the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal
(CHUM). The IRCM also maintains a long-standing association with McGill
University. The IRCM is funded, in part, by the Quebec ministry of
Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology.
About the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) (www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca) is the Government of Canada's health research investment agency.
CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its
translation into improved health, more effective health services and
products, and a strengthened health care system for Canadians. Composed
of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than
14,100 health researchers and trainees across Canada.
SOURCE: Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM)
For further information:
and to schedule an interview with Dr. Faraj, please contact:
Communications Officer (IRCM)
Communications Director (IRCM)