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Oklahoma State University

Comparative Metabolism Laboratory

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The Comparative Metabolism laboratory investigates glucose metabolism during metabolic diseases (e.g., diabetes, insulin resistance and obesity) and novel metabolic therapeutic strategies that could be beneficial to both veterinary and human patients. Diabetes and obesity, global epidemic diseases, are significant risk factors for the development of cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. One of the major pathogenic processes underlying these metabolic diseases results from a deficit of insulin production or action, with dysfunctional glucose uptake into insulin-sensitive tissues.

Despite intensive research, the mechanisms of altered glucose transport observed during diabetes are still not well elucidated. Therefore, the main current mission of our laboratory is to investigate the regulation of glucose transport in insulin-sensitive tissues (e.g., cardiac and skeletal muscles, and adipose tissues), but also in the lung and lamellar tissue. Glucose uptake from the bloodstream is tightly regulated by a family of specialized proteins, called glucose transporters. Because every cell expresses these glucose transporters, they are recognized as major regulators of whole-body metabolism and thus key pharmacological targets. The strength of our research program is to use a unique comparative approach by investigating both small and large animal models of metabolic diseases, spanning from transgenic mice to horses.

msucle cell membrane
Regulation of glucose transport in striated muscle.
GLUT4 protein
GLUT4 protein at the cell surface of cardiac myocytes upon insulin treatment (Method: confocal laser scanning microscopy).

Lab Contact

Véronique Lacombe, DVM, Ph.D.
Department of Physiological Sciences
Center of Veterinary Health Sciences
Oklahoma State University
E-mail: veronique.lacombe@okstate.edu