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Research Pediatrics
University Medical Center Groningen

Thesis Theo van Dijk: Summary

Computational Analysis of Carbohydrate Metabolism, Stable Isotope Techniques in Small Laboratory Animals

During the last decades, humans in the western World have become exposed to an excess of (processed) food that is broadly available. This, in combination with a sedentary life stile, induces overfilling energy stores that might result in obesity. The combination of reduced energy expenditure and overfilled energy stores is often seen as the starting point of insulin resistance and type II diabetes. Both diseases are characterized by disturbed fat- and carbohydrate metabolism. In this thesis we focus on disturbances in carbohydrate metabolism. This metabolism is very complex, it includes coordinated functions of transporters and enzymes in the different organs and tissues. To understand the origin of type II diabetes, it is necessary to study the changes of these dynamic processes.

To study carbohydrate metabolism we used glucose that is somewhat heavier than the natural abundant glucose. The body, however, is not able to distinguish between the introduced glucose and the natural abundant glucose. A number new methods were developed to describe specific parts of carbohydrate metabolism, like: glucose absorption from the intestine, glucose disposal in peripheral tissue, and glucose production by the liver, divided in the synthesis of glucose and the mobilization of glucose from existing stores.

Because we used stably (non-radioactive) labelled isotopes, these techniques can also be used in humans. It enlarged our knowledge about cause, development, and consequences of type II diabetes and are also useful in the development of new therapies.


Last modified:21 March 2013 2.16 p.m.