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Congratulations to Arion Kennedy, Awarded NIH R21 Grant

Arion Kennedy's research focuses on understanding the impacts of fructose metabolism on Kupffer cell phenotype and function in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).

Congratulations to Arion Kennedy, who just received her notice of award for a new NIH R21 grant entitled “Fructose Induced Regulation of Profibrogenic Factors in Hepatic Nonparenchymal Cells”. High fructose corn syrup consumption is strongly correlated with diabetes, obesity and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Fructose consumption is two to three times higher in patients with NAFLD compared to controls and increases the presence of lobular inflammation and fibrosis. The major contributors of lobular inflammation and fibrosis are activated hepatic nonparenchymal cells, which consist of T cells, stellate cells, and Kupffer cells. The distinct role of fructose metabolism on Kupffer cell phenotype and function in NAFLD is unclear. The goals of this project are to identify new molecular mechanisms by which fructose leads to the development of NAFLD, by uncovering metabolic pathways regulated by fructose that impact immune cell function. Preliminary data using NMR and MS to track and identify fructose metabolites in macrophages was obtained in METRIC with pilot project funding from the Kenan Institute.