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Laboratory Studies

Lipases and Disease

Dr. Lowe’s work in the laboratory is providing important details about acute pancreatitis, a significant cause of illness and death in the United States. Digestive enzymes synthesized in the pancreas have long been suspected of being involved in the disease. Using mouse models, Dr. Lowe is investigating the ways pancreatic lipases contribute to the damage the pancreas incurs during acute pancreatitis. He also is investigating the role of a membrane protein, Itmap 1, in determining the course of the disease. Early evidence suggests it is a protective mechanism – mice missing this protein are more susceptible to pancreatitis.

Lipases and Digestion

The role lipases play in the digestion of dietary fat is another issue Dr. Lowe’s work in the lab is helping to define. Researchers are investigating the function of various lipases and procolipase in newborns. Procolipase is a pancreatic protein that aids lipases. Such basic knowledge is necessary to improve nutritional therapies for infants with chronic illnesses – such as kidney failure and cystic fibrosis – who have high, difficult-to-satisfy energy needs.

Enterostatin, Appetite Regulation and Weight Loss

Dr. Lowe  also is investigating the role of enterostatin in appetite and weight loss. Enterostatin is a peptide released by procolipase in the duodenum. When enterostatin is injected into animals, they tend to decrease their voluntary intake of fat, eat less and lose weight – a response that suggests the peptide may play an important role in appetite regulation and in determining the body weight set point.

Last Update
March 29, 2010
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Last Update
March 29, 2010