Obesity leads to significant changes in adipose (fat) tissue metabolism, harms the pancreas, impairs insulin sensitivity, and eventually causes hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), which is the foundation of type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, it triggers a low-grade inflammatory reaction throughout the body, which promotes the infiltration of white blood cells into numerous tissues, including fat deposits located deep within the body that surround organs, such as the liver and gut — called visceral adipose tissue — and the peritoneal cavity, a delicate membrane that encloses the gut.
According to a new study, published in Clinical and Experimental Immunology, the adiponectin-PEPITEM pathway provides a link between obesity, the accompanying low-grade inflammatory response, and modifications in the pancreas that occur prior to the onset of diabetes.
Using a mouse model of obesity, the researchers administered the peptide PEPITEM using a slow-release pump, to see if it could prevent or perhaps even reverse the impacts of a high-fat diet on the pancreas.
The researchers found that administering PEPITEM to mice that were following a high-fat diet resulted in a significant reduction in the enlargement of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas and the number of white blood cells in the visceral adipose tissue and peritoneal cavity when compared to the control group.