Pancreatic fat levels may help predict diabetes
Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center is the first in the U.S. using an imaging technique called magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to measure the amount of fat in the human pancreas. While scientists worldwide are using and Ms. to investigate a series of diseases such as breast cancer and epilepsy, the UT Southwestern group has successfully used non-invasive method to measure fat and pancreas.
The results of a new study from UT Southwestern available online and in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolismsuggest to measure the fat content of the pancreas in people who might one day serve as an effective clinical tool to identify those high risk of diabetes and control interventions designed to prevent the disease.
“These are very early results, but if they are true, Ms. pancreas would be a rapid and noninvasive test to screen people at risk of diabetes, either because they are obese or have a family history of type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome,” said Dr. Ildiko Lingvay, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study. “Potentially it could mean doctors that patients are more likely to develop diabetes in the near future and therefore have a need for more aggressive.”
RMS is a specialized technique similar to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Do not use radiation and is completely noninvasive. The test usually takes 20 to 30 minutes. Considering that an MRI can tell doctors where a tumor is found, the SRA can tell doctors whether the tumor is malignant, providing information on the biochemistry of specific body tissues rather than simply detect the existence of these tissues Dr. Lingvay said.
For this study, researchers used MRS to measure the amount of fat in 79 adult volunteers pancreas. The research team obtained duplicate measurements one to two weeks in addition to 33 study participants to ensure that the results could be replicated in time.
The volunteers were divided into four groups according to body mass index (BMI) and glucose tolerance. BMI is a weight-height ratio commonly used to measure obesity. A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 25, someone with a BMI of 40 or more is considered morbidly obese. All participants underwent several physical measurements such as height, weight and blood pressure as well as extensive clinical evaluations.
Using MRS, the researchers found that overweight and obese volunteers had significantly more fat than pancreas in the lean group. Volunteers who had a similar BMI, but had already developed, either pre-diabetes or diabetes had more fat and pancreas.
MRS has not been approved for routine clinical use, but Dr. Lingvay said this research shows that it could be a valuable tool for studying the pancreas without a biopsy. “This technology represents an opportunity for physicians to conduct research that has not been possible due to lack of advanced tools,” he said.
The next step, Dr. Lingvay said, is to determine whether reducing the amount of fat in the pancreas reduces the risk of diabetes.