Dr. Hulver studies the role of pro-inflammatory pathways in maladaptation to metabolic stress (changes in diet, exercise) in skeletal muscles. Muscle cells become inflamed as a result of over-eating or lack of physical activity.
Lipid accumulation within skeletal muscle is increased with the progression of obesity. This phenomenon results from dysregulation of energy metabolism by skeletal muscle that can be characterized by an up regulation and a down regulation in the metabolic pathways of carbohydrate and fatty acid metabolism, respectively. It is important to understand the mechanism(s) responsible for this dysregulation as increased lipid content within skeletal muscle disrupts insulin signaling, causes insulin resistance, and is a risk factor for the development of Type 2 Diabetes. The PI is studying the role of pro-inflammatory responses to high lipid environment, as observed in obese humans, in this skeletal muscle disorder.