New study uncovers unexpected link between type II diabetes and obesity

Dr. John Douglass, Assistant Professor of Biology, is lead author on a new research study in the journal Cell Metabolism that uncovers an unexpected connection between obesity and type II diabetes. The study, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Washington and University of California, San Francisco, was a follow-up to previous work from Douglass's team demonstrating that fattening diets lead to activation of resident immune cells in the brain and overconsumption of calories. The new study examined glucose intolerance as an early marker of developing diabetes, expecting to show that brain inflammation would exacerbate the progression of diabetes. Instead, the new study shows that immune cell activation in the brain caused by high fat diet actually prevents hyperglycemia, which is very different than what occurs in peripheral tissues such as adipose and liver. This discovery has important implications for identifying drugs to treat both obesity and diabetes, particularly given the current media attention around brain-targeting medications like Ozempic and Mounjaro.

Posted: Tuesday, August 15, 2023