Obesity-related diseases now threaten to reach epidemic proportions in the United States. Here we review in a rodent model of genetic obesity, the fa/fa Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rat, the mechanisms involved in the most common complications of diet-induced human obesity, i.e., noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, and myocardial dysfunction. In ZDF rats, hyperphagia leads to hyperinsulinemia, which upregulates transcription factors that stimulate lipogenesis. This causes ectopic deposition of triacylglycerol in nonadipocytes, providing fatty acid (FA) substrate for damaging pathways of nonoxidative metabolism, such as ceramide synthesis. In β cells and myocardium, the resulting functional impairment and apoptosis cause diabetes and cardiomyopathy. Interventions that lower ectopic lipid accumulation or block nonoxidative metabolism of FA and ceramide formation completely prevent these complications. Given the evidence for a similar etiology for the complications of human obesity, it would be appropriate to develop strategies to avert the predicted epidemic of lipotoxic disorders.
- Complications of obesity
- Noninsulin-dependent diabetes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology