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Bacteria and fat: a 'perfect storm' for inflammation

Making fat cells immortal might seem like a bad idea to most people, but for a team of University of Iowa scientists it was the ideal way to study how the interaction between bacteria and fat cells might contribute to diabetes.

The connection between fat, bacteria, and diabetes is inflammation, which is the body's normal reaction to infection or injury. Inflammation is beneficial in small, controlled doses but can be extremely harmful when it persists and becomes chronic.

Previous studies have shown that a toxin called lipopolysaccharide (LPS) produced by E. coli bacteria that reside in the human gut, triggers fat cells to produce pro-inflammatory cytokines, and this interaction has been proposed to contribute to the development of diabetes.

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