Dra. Paola Llanos Biography

Dr. Paola Llanos is Teacher of Biology and Natural Sciences from Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación (2002) and PhD in Biomedical Sciences from Universidad of Chile (2010). In 2010, she was awarded a National Postdoctoral grant from CONICYT-CHILE. Since 2012 is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Research in Dental Sciences (ICOD) and permanent member of the Research Department and Ethics Committee of Faculty of Dentistry, Universidad de Chile.

Research line

The mechanisms that regulate glucose transport in skeletal muscle as well as glucose stimulated insulin secretion in ß-cell from pancreas, and their alterations in insulin resistance (IR) are major research interest. IR is associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Skeletal muscle is the main source of GLUT4-mediated glucose transport in animals. Most GLUT4-mediated glucose transport occurs in the transverse tubules (TT), a specialized cholesterol-enriched plasma membrane system of skeletal muscle. In IR, GLUT4 translocation to the TT membrane is defective.

Since 2010 to present, Dr Llanos has centered her efforts in understanding the role of cholesterol accumulation in TT in muscle and its relation to IR. Using a combination of biochemical, microscopic, and molecular approaches, studies are underway to examine this hypothesis in adult muscle fibers from normal or obese mice (high fat diet-fed mice). The research line is currently funded by a FONDECYT grant (CONICYT, Chile) entitled: “Cholesterol accumulation in the membrane and altered GLUT4-mediated transport: a novel role for the ABCA1 transporter in skeletal muscle from insulin resistant mice”. The laboratory is affiliated with ICOD, Faculty of Dentistry, Universidad de Chile and associated with CEMC, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad de Chile.

Selected references

  1. Membrane Cholesterol in Skeletal Muscle: A Novel Player in Excitation-Contraction Coupling and Insulin Resistance, G. Barrientos, P. Sánchez-Aguilera, E. Jaimovich, C. Hidalgo, and P. Llanos. J Diabetes Res. 2017;2017: 3941898.
  2. Glucose-Dependent Insulin Secretion in Pancreatic β-Cell Islets from Male Rats Requires Ca2+ Release via ROS-Stimulated Ryanodine Receptors. Llanos P, Contreras-Ferrat A, Barrientos G, Valencia M, Mears D, Hidalgo C. PLoS One. 2015 Jun 5;10(6):e0129238. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129238.
  3. Cholesterol removal from adult skeletal muscle impairs excitation-contraction coupling and aging reduces caveolin-3 and alters the expression of other triadic proteins. Barrientos G*, Llanos P*, Hidalgo J, Bolaños P, Caputo C, Riquelme A, Sánchez G, Quest AF, Hidalgo C. Front Physiol. 2015 Apr 10;6:105. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2015.00105.
  4. The cholesterol-lowering agent methyl-β-cyclodextrin promotes glucose uptake via GLUT4 in adult muscle fibers and reduces insulin resistance in obese mice. Llanos P, Contreras-Ferrat A, Georgiev T, Osorio-Fuentealba C, Espinosa A, Hidalgo J, Hidalgo C, Jaimovich E. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Feb 15;308(4):E294-305. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00189.2014