Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) Study and Prevention

Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) Study and Prevention

Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a constellation of risk factors for cardiovascular (CV) disease that includes obesity, hyperlipidemia, insulin resistance and hypertension. MetS doubles the risk of CV disease, more than triples the risk of CV mortality and raises the risk of type 2 diabetes by about fivefold. Its prevalence is increasing to epidemic proportions not only in the U.S. and urbanized world but also in developing countries. It affects up to 25 percent of adults in the U.S. and 20 to 30 percent of the adult population in most countries, and continues to rise dramatically. The increased mortality of people with MetS, even in its earlier phases, suggests that the initial site of CV injury in MetS might, in fact, reside in the microcirculation of the heart. However, the mechanism of its momentous effects remains to be defined.

The team has applied multidetector computerized tomography (MDCT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess the effects of MetS on the myocardial and renal structures and functions both at baseline and under challenge. The evaluation of microvascular endothelial function has been one of the lab's major concerns. Team members have also been utilizing high-resolution microcomputerized tomography (micro-CT) to identify early changes of cardiac and renal vasculature.

The lab is currently engaged in using cutting-edge MDCT, MRI and micro-CT as well as physiological and biological techniques to study underlying mechanisms of renal and cardiovascular stenosis, microvascular dysfunction, and remodeling in the unique Ossabaw pig model that develops MetS with a high-cholesterol diet and a sedentary lifestyle. These studies are clinically significant in that they may shed important light on the mechanisms of development of MetS, which could ultimately lead to preventive and therapeutic measures.

For more information contact: li.zilun@mayo.edu