Excess fat levels in the body are already tied with various health severities, including cardiovascular complications and poor quality of life. However, a new study reveals that the complications run even worse than that, especially in obese and type-2 diabetes patients.

The study’s results reveal that elevated blood fat levels are tied to excess stress in muscle cells. This leads to adverse damage to the cell structure and functions. These damaged cells emit signals called “Ceramides”, which pass down to the neighbouring cells.

Researchers from the University of Leeds found both ups and downs to these produced signals or ceramides.

According to their finding, these ceramides have short-term benefits, especially in reducing the stress on the cells. However, in patients with metabolic diseases like type-2 diabetes and obesity, these signals result in cell death, further worsening the patient’s condition.

Since 1975, obesity has tripled globally, contributing to heightened blood fat levels and associated cardiovascular complications. Reports suggest that in 2016, around 650 million people were reported to be obese.

Lee Roberts, Professor of Molecular Physiology and Metabolism in the University of Leeds’s School of Medicine, the research supervisor in the study, highlighted that although their research is still in the primitive stages, it forms a basis for further development of assistive therapies for patients with metabolic diseases.

These therapies can prevent further deterioration of cardiovascular health in obese and type-2 diabetes patients.

The researchers replicated the blood fat levels in patients with the metabolic disease for the study. They did this by directly exposing the skeletal muscle to the palmitate. During observation, the researchers found the cells transmitting the ceramide signal.

These exposed skeletal muscle cells were then exposed to other cells that were not exposed to fat cells before. The researchers observed that the mixed cells communicated, transporting the ceramide signal in extracellular vesicles.

The study involves human volunteers suffering from metabolic diseases for more accurate reading and results. According to the results, the study provides a modern-day understanding of how our cells respond to stress, especially in patients with already heightened risks of metabolic diseases.

With obesity becoming a gradual epidemic, newer treatment options for type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are needed.

The research paper titled “Long-chain ceramides are cell non-autonomous signals linking lipotoxicity to endoplasmic reticulum stress in skeletal muscle” has been published in Nature Communications.


Dr. Divya Rohra has completed her MBBS from Grant Medical College and Sir JJ Group of Hospitals, Mumbai in 2019 with an excellent academic and clinical record. She has been the Joint Academic & Research Secretary of her batch in the year 2016-17 and successfully conducted various conferences and CMEs at her college. She has been the Director of Editorial and Web Communications of Rotaract Club of the Caduceus for two years. She has worked as a Paediatrics House Officer and Covid-19 Medical Officer at Mumbai. She has participated in various Quiz competitions, Poster Presentations, Symposia, Medical Documentary making competitions during her UG days and won awards for the same. She is working with PregaJunction as a Medical Content Auditor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Free Call back from our health advisor instantly