The metabolic syndrome is a combination of obesity, hypertension, fatty liver disease and insulin resistance that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Further, kidney damage and arthritis are increased in obese patients. Since the prevalence of metabolic syndrome is increasing world-wide, it is important to establish simple therapies, such as dietary interventions, that can decrease the future risk. The research led by Professor Lindsay Brown has developed appropriate rat models of human disease, in particular metabolic syndrome, arthritis and kidney damage, to test potential interventions. These interventions are typically natural products, both pure compounds and extracts, or novel compounds. These natural and synthetic compounds share an ability to suppress inflammatory responses in the body.
Obesity, hypertension and diabetes are chronic risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, the major cause of death in our society. Metabolic syndrome is defined as the combination of these three disorders, together with changes in blood lipid concentrations and inflammation. We have investigated both causes and treatments of the metabolic syndrome, using a rat model of diet-induced changes. In addition, we study rat models of selected symptoms of the metabolic syndrome, especially hypertension and diabetes. Furthermore, we now study rat models of obesity-related chronic diseases such as arthritis, fatty liver disease and kidney disease to characterise the development and possible treatments of these symptoms.