This application is for a renewal of our Dietary Supplement Research Center focusing on Botanicals. Our Botanical Research Center is a collaborative effort between the Pennington Biomedical Research Center of the Louisiana State University (LSU) System and the Biotechnology Center for Agriculture and the Environment of Rutgers University. The theme of the Center is "Botanicals and Metabolic Syndrome". The "metabolic syndrome" defines a human condition whose major features consist of obesity, insulin resistance, development of Type 2 diabetes and accelerated cardiovascular disease. As the prevalence of metabolic syndrome is reaching epidemic proportions worldwide, metabolic syndrome has been, and will continue to be, one of the most important public health problems facing society. Our Botanical Research Center will consist of three (3) research projects, an Integrative Biology Core, a Botanical core and an Administrative core. Each of the research projects will evaluate specific botanicals and assess the effect on cellular mechanisms proposed to contribute to the pathophysiology and development of the metabolic syndrome. Project 1 investigators will conduct studies to evaluate mechanisms of action by which selected extracts of Artemisia sp. modulate insulin receptor signaling and insulin sensitivity in both animal and in early phase human studies. Project 2 investigators will focus on mechanisms by which selected Artemisia sp. extracts and Hypericum perforatum L. (St. John's Wort) effect adipocyte development, adipokines, and insulin action. Project 3 investigators will evaluate how Asclepias incarnata modulates central mechanisms controlling appetite and energy expenditure as a means to improve overall energy balance and weight. We propose to use cutting-edge technologies that include metabolomic profiling, proteomic assessments, and bioaccessibility determinations. Thus, the scientific goal of our Center is to provide a comprehensive evaluation of specific, compelling hypotheses about the molecular, cellular and physiological mechanisms by which botanicals can modulate the development of the underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms of, and attenuate the development to, metabolic syndrome.
Given the complications for metabolic syndrome, it is imperative that we implement effective strategies to improve the underlying pathophysiologic factors contributing to the condition. Our comprehensive study of botanicals and their effects to modulate pathologic processes leading to the development of the metabolic syndrome has great potential for being translated into practical benefits for human health.
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