FFARMED - The molecular effects of food on metabolic diseases through nutrient sensing free fatty acid receptors

Project: Research

Project Details


The purpose of the project is to identify and study food constituents acting on free fatty acid receptors (FFARs: FFA1/GPR40, FFA2/GPR43, FFA3/GPR41 and GPR120), to develop novel synthetic agonists and antagonists of these receptors, and to study how activation of individual FFARs may exert beneficial or detrimental effects on the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D). With 350 million diabetics worldwide, a number that has more than doubled since 1980, diabetes is currently the 4th leading cause of death and represents an enormous social and economic burden.1 T2D, constituting 90-95% of the cases, is closely associated with obesity and it is generally accepted that lifestyle intervention, especially a healthy diet, is the most efficient means to prevent and manage the disease.2 Studies have found an inverse correlation between dairy intake and development of T2D,3 and there is evidence that fish oils decrease the risk of or counteract T2D.4 The molecular mechanisms behind these effects are however poorly understood. A central hypothesis of this project is that the effects of these and other foodstuff on T2D are at least partly mediated through specific effects on FFARs. The effects of diverse dietary fatty acids on FFARs will therefore be characterized. Selective receptor modulators will be developed and used as tools to study the roles of the FFARs in T2D in vitro and in vivo. Food constituents with specific activity on FFARs will be investigated further in clinical studies with healthy and diabetic individuals. We anticipate that our studies will provide new insight into the molecular effect of food constituents on T2D and form the basis for the development of improved diet plans, effective nutritional supplements and functional foods to assist the prevention and management of T2D.
Short titleFFARMED
Effective start/end date01/01/201231/12/2017