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. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome is increasing to epidemic proportions not only in the U.S. and in the urbanized world but also in developing countries.

MetS doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease, more than triples the risk of cardiovascular mortality and raises the risk of type 2 diabetes by about fivefold. The increased mortality of people with metabolic syndrome, even in its earlier phases, suggests that the initial site of cardiovascular injury in MetS might in fact reside in the microcirculation of the heart. However, the mechanism of its momentous effects remains to be defined.

Our research team has applied multidetector computerized tomography (MDCT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess the effects of metabolic syndrome on the myocardial and renal structure and function and their ability to respond to challenge. Our research team also uses high-resolution microcomputed tomography (micro-CT) to identify early changes of cardiac and renal vasculature.

We're also using physiological and biological techniques to study underlying mechanisms of renal and cardiovascular parenchymal injury, microvascular dysfunction and remodeling in unique animal models that develop MetS with a high-cholesterol diet and a sedentary lifestyle.

These studies are clinically significant in that they might shed important light on the mechanisms of development of metabolic syndrome, which could ultimately lead to preventive and therapeutic measures.

Project contact

For more information about our project on metabolic syndrome, email Sabena M. Conley, Ph.D.