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Metabolon Research into Dietary Leucine Published in PLoS One

Diabetes animal model study reveals that modifying one metabolite in diet can improve whole body metabolism

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul 11, 2011 - Metabolon, Inc., the leader in metabolomics, biomarker discovery and biochemical analysis, announced today the publication of “Dietary Leucine - An Environmental Modifier of Insulin Resistance Acting on Multiple Levels of Metabolism” in PLoS One (PLoS ONE 6(6): e21187.doi:10.1371/journal.pone. 0021187). Non-targeted biochemical profiling (metabolomics) provided insight into the biochemical mechanisms of leucine's effects on metabolism. The study was carried out by lead investigator C. Ron Kahn, M.D. and colleagues at the Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School and Metabolon.

The researchers evaluated the effects of leucine supplements on metabolism and insulin signaling in a mouse model of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. They showed that a dietary increase in leucine, a branched chain amino acid, improved glucose tolerance, prevented fatty liver, reduced obesity-induced adipose tissue inflammation and rescued insulin signaling in muscle, liver and fat. By using a global metabolic profiling approach the investigators were able to follow leucine metabolism in serum, liver, fat and muscle in the high fat diet-(HFD)-induced obesity mice. The metabolomic analysis showed leucine supplementation resulted in changes in multiple metabolic pathways involving protein, lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. Notably, leucine addition to a high fat diet restored the metabolic profile of the animals to the profile found in mice fed a control diet.

Commenting on the study, collaborator, Dr. Kahn, Head of Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism at the Joslin Diabetes Center and Iacocca Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, said, “These findings point to the importance of even small changes in diet on metabolism and diabetes risk, and how important it is to be able to measure the full range of metabolite changes that altering the diet can affect.”

The article has been published on-line in PLoS One and may be accessed by this link: Dietary Leucine – an Environmental Modifier of Insulin Resistance Acting on Multiple Levels of Metabolism

About Metabolon

Metabolon, Inc. has advanced the field of metabolomics by pioneering and patenting the industry's leading biochemical biomarker discovery and profiling platform. It has developed the technology to quickly identify and measure all of the biochemical in a biological sample through its proprietary global processing method. Through the generation and interpretation of data, this method provides a precise understanding of disease etiology and drug action, and advances personalized medicine beyond what genomics and other approaches can promise. Metabolon's expertise is being embraced by a wide range of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, food and agricultural companies. Metabolytics, its biomarker discovery and analysis business, has completed over 320 client studies and processed over 30,000 samples for customers in 2010 alone. Building on its expertise in biochemistry understanding, Metabolon is also developing proprietary diagnostic tests to determine and track disease progression. For more information about Metabolon, please visit or contact Matt Zaske at or 919-595-2200.


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Posted: July 2011