Musi receives $600,000 to study diabetes and gut bacteria

SAN ANTONIO (May 20, 2014) — The American Diabetes Association today announced $600,000 for a clinical research study led by Nicolas Musi, M.D., director of the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio.

The study will test whether a high-fat diet causes changes in the gut bacteria of human participants, thereby leading to an increase in bacterial byproducts called endotoxins in the bloodstream. In older people and in people with type 2 diabetes, the level of endotoxin in the blood is elevated.

“We all have a little bit of endotoxin in our body coming from the bacteria that live in our gut,” Dr. Musi said. “But usually endotoxin does not come through the intestinal barrier into the blood, or very little does. We question whether the higher level of endotoxin in the blood of diabetics is caused by a high-fat diet that makes the intestinal barrier leaky, allowing endotoxin to spill into the blood.”

The study will also explore how the level of endotoxin might affect insulin sensitivity and the body’s ability to metabolize sugar (glucose).

The study is recruiting participants. Dr. Musi’s team is studying people who are healthy, who are obese without diabetes, and who have type 2 diabetes. The study will enroll approximately 100 people.

Study participants will receive prepackaged meals, and the team will also test whether an investigational drug that traps endotoxin in the gut can improve glucose metabolism.

For more information, please call 210-617-5243.

Dr. Musi is one of only three recipients of the American Diabetes Association and GSK Research Awards announced today. The grants are each three-year awards.

In addition to leading the Barshop Institute, Dr. Musi is director of the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC) in the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Healthy Aging in the School of Medicine, and occupies the Sam and Ann Barshop Endowed Chair in Translational Research. He is an endocrinologist and internal medicine physician with UT Medicine San Antonio, the clinical practice of the School of Medicine.


UT Medicine San Antonio is the clinical practice of the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio. With more than 700 doctors – all School of Medicine faculty – UT Medicine is the largest medical practice in Central and South Texas. Expertise is in more than 100 medical specialties and subspecialties. Primary care doctors and specialists see patients in private practice at UT Medicine’s flagship clinical home, the Medical Arts & Research Center (MARC), located at 8300 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio 78229. Most major health plans are accepted, and UT Medicine physicians also practice at several local and regional hospitals. Call (210) 450-9000 to schedule an appointment, or visit a list of clinics and phone numbers.

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