Department of Medicine
Kien Lab Research
- Effects of long and short chain fatty acids on metabolism. This work includes current NIH-funded studies of the effects of dietary saturated fat (palmitic acid) and monounsaturated fat (oleic acid) on both liver and muscle glucose utilization and muscle lipid metabolism.
- Fermentation of carbohydrate and its effects on butyrate production and cell function.
- To determine how ingestion of saturated versus monosaturated fat may alter the risks of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. One major goal of our current studies is to determine if the fatty acid composition of the diet alters risk factors for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, perhaps through changes in the structure and function of cells. One working hypothesis is that the complications of obesity are determined in part by the type of distinct fatty acids stored in tissues such as adipose tissue and muscle and circulating both in the fasting and fed states. Our research is identifying biomarkers which may be gender-dependent. Our findings may be relevant not only to dietary guidelines (dietary fat and perhaps iron), but also to therapeutic approaches involving pharmaceutical agents.
- To determine if the ingestion of starches and sugars, which are not fully ingested in the human intestine, provide medical benefit through the production of butyric acid, a bacterial metabolite. Past work and current work has shown that the mammalian colon produces small quantities of butyrate which appear to alter intestinal growth and pancreatic β-cell function. Our studies have potential application to infant feeding (cow milk in parts of the world where humanized formulas and breast feeding are not possible) and to the role of low glycemic load food, especially in diabetics.
Type of Research Performed
- Human Translational Research: Work carried in the Kien Lab is focused mainly on human studies at the UVM Clinical Research Center and includes collaborations with scientists both at UVM and Duke University at the present time. The following approaches are also being used in human studies of the effects of dietary palmitic and oleic acid: lipidomic studies of blood and muscle (includes work both at UVM on muscle lipid composition and with Duke University); stable isotope tracer studies of glucose and palmitic acid metabolism (with Dr. Matthews’ lab); studies of the effects of palmitate and oleate on inflammatory pathways in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and cultured monocytes (with Drs. Poynter and Fukagawa). Currently, we are studying the effects of dietary palmitate and oleate on physical activity with the assistance of Dr. Connie Tompkins, UVM. In the next year, we hope to begin studies of physical exercise training with Dr. Phil Ades.
- Studies in Animal Models: Dr. Kien’s lab is collaborating with Dr. Jetton in studies of the interaction of dietary starch, butyrate, intestinal growth, and pancreatic function using animal models. Valuable collaboration has been provided by Drs. Blauwiekel, Huber, and Poynter.
Last modified August 06 2012 01:21 PM