A cherry on top: Tart cherries may alter heart/diabetes factors

lood lipids like LDL, typically known as the "bad cholesterol". Drugs in the classes known as thiazolidinediones and glitazars activate PPAR and are often used to manage high cholesterol and risk for Type 2 diabetes.

In the current study, the rats that received cherries had both a lower level of fat in their livers, and a higher expression of the PPAR gene, than those that did not and the correlation between the two was dose-dependent.

Now, the Cardioprotection Laboratory team has embarked on a new study in rats that have Type 2 diabetes, both with and without obesity and in the presence of low-fat and high-fat diets. They will look at whether tart cherries have an impact on the storage of fat in fat tissue and in muscle, and on the production of specific blood lipids like LDL and HDL. In addition, they will characterize cherries chemically, to assess the levels of phytochemicals in whole cherries, cherry juice and dry cherries.

Meanwhile, U-M Integrative Medicine co-director Sara Warber. M.D., an assistant professor of family medicine at the U-M Medical School, will lead a pilot clinical trial of whole tart cherries in humans. The study will enroll healthy individuals who will spend a night at the U-M General Clinical Research Center, and have their blood tested multiple times to look for the breakdown products of cherries.


Contact: Kara Gavin
University of Michigan Health System

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