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New food-derived bioactive products against obesity and diabetes

18th national competition for scientific and technical research

Food security and biotechnology

Senior Researcher : Pablo José Fernández Marcos

Research Centre or Institution : Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) en Alimentación. Madrid.


This Research Project is focused on the following Objectives: (1) Discovery and characterization of new natural bioactive products derived from food. We have set up three high throughput screening (HTS) platforms to identify new bioactive products with activity as inhibitors of the insulin/PI3K pathway; mitochondrial activity boosters (mitohormetics); and with the ability to increase NADPH levels. In addition, we have set up two HTS platforms to identify senolitic products, able to selectively kill senescent cells; and products able to increase levels of NAD+. We have screened more than 1000 pure natural compounds with each of these platforms, and have identified and validated close to 25 interesting bioactive products.

(2) Development and characterization of bioactive products. We have developed a library of more than 100 extracts, fractions and pure compounds derived from plants and algae in collaboration with Dr. Tiziana Fornari, at the Institute of Food Science Research (CIAL, Spain) and with Dr. Jose Cheel, at Algatech Institute (Czech Republic). We have tested them on our screening platforms, and have identified several extracts with activity in our pathways of interest.

(3) Tests on mouse models of Metabolic Syndrome. We have set up a mouse model of metabolic syndrome, based on the intake of a high-fat diet for several months that leads to obesity and glucose intolerance. We have tested several products identified in the Objectives 1 and 2, including one PI3K inhibitor, two mitohormetics and two senolitics. We have observed remarkable improvements in body weight and/or in insulin sensitivity, that constitute a strong proof pf principle for our project. The information obtained from this work is part of some already accepted publications, or of articles that will be sent for publication soon. Altogether, this project is generating very interesting results in all the proposed objectives, and we hope we will have several publications accepted soon, and to identify and develop new bioactive products with a direct application on the general population. 


Scientific Production
Magazine Articles 3
Communications at national conferences 8
Communications at international conferences 5


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