Q&A with Donna vine

Dr. Donna Vine trained as a physiologist and biochemistry scientist in both Australia and Canada. She joined the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta in 2004 and went on to become an Assistant Professor in 2006. Area of focus: Evaluating the impact of nutrition and chronic disease on intestinal lipid metabolism.

Research Highlights:
• We have made extensive contributions to the study of intestinal chylomicrons, which has lead to the discovery that the impairment of intestinal chylomicron metabolism leads to an accumulation of these particles in the circulation.
• We have been the first to provide evidence that dietary derived cholesterol oxidation products are rapidly absorbed by the intestine, are incorporated into intestinal chylomicrons and transported to the circulation.
• We have discovered using intestinal ‘Ussing’ diffusion techniques that dietary type and amount can influence both the histological integrity and the physiological transport processes of the intestine.
• We developed a novel surgical (in-situ perfusion) and analytical methods (con-focal microscopy) to determine the permeability of intestinal chylomicron-remnants into arterial vessels.
• We have pioneered the development of an animal model to investigate the pathophysiology of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and the development of insulin resistance and dyslipidemia in PCOS.

What is PCOS in respect to your area of expertise?

Dr. Vine and the MCVD Laboratory are contributing to the link between intestinal lipid absorption and metabolism in relationship to cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome and pre-diabetes. Emerging evidence suggest the intestine contributes significantly to whole body cholesterol and triglyceride metabolism, yet there remains a lack of knowledge regarding the regulation of intestinal lipid absorption, and transport of dietary lipids to the circulation via intestinal lipoproteins (chylomicrons). Dr. Vine and her team (together with Dr. Proctor, Nutrition, UofA) has been one of the first to contribute to the study of the effect of dietary fats on lipid transport and metabolism pathways in these disease states and they continue to research the basic physiological processes involved.

What are the PCOS symptoms?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a metabolic-endocrine disorder that occurs in 10-18% of adolescents and young women of reproductive age. The diagnosis of PCOS is associated with infertility and includes irregular or absence of menses, evidence of hyperandrogenism or elevated testosterone levels and/or polycystic ovaries. PCOS is an increasing public health concern because the incidence is highly associated with the metabolic syndrome (MetS): obesity, insulin resistance and dyslipidemia, predisposing young women to develop Type-2 Diabetes (T2D) and Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). PCOS is considered a major risk factor for premature development of CVD and 70% of these patients have atherogenic dyslipidemia, a primary risk factor for the early onset of CVD. The pathology of dyslipidemia in PCOS is linked to elevated testosterone and insulin mediated mechanisms, and both of these metabolic aberrations upregulate lipid synthesis.

What are you currently doing for PCOS?

Most recently we have begun to explore dietary improvements and pharmaceutical interventions to understand the etiology of the metabolic complications of PCOS

What are 5 key facts about PCOS that you would like the public to know?

The Androgen Excess and PCOS Society consists of world leaders in the field and recent consensus reports highlight the need to assess, and treat dyslipidemia and subclinical vascular disease in young women with PCOS.
The consensus is to focus on early CVD prevention with a need for research to investigate
i) early subclinical CVD risk markers and
ii) effective and safe nutritional approaches as alternatives to contraindicated pharmacotherapies, to detect and manage dyslipidemia in this at-risk group

What do you want to get out of helping women with PCOS?

Dr. Vine and the MCVD Laboratory are contributing to the link between intestinal lipid absorption and metabolism in relationship to cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome and pre-diabetes.

Does your business/practice have an online presence on social websites?

Website

 

What interests you about serving on the PCOSAA Advisory Committee?

The ability to serve on the PCOSAA Advisory Committee as a research scientist (Canada & Australia) that is contributing to the link between intestinal lipid absorption and metabolism in relationship to cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome and pre-diabetes.

What can PCOSAA do, as an organization, to bring more awareness and to get more doctors to test women for PCOS?

Continue to educate doctors that Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a metabolic-endocrine disorder that occurs in 10-18% of adolescents and young women of reproductive age. PCOS is an increasing public health concern because the incidence is highly associated with the metabolic syndrome (MetS): obesity, insulin resistance and dyslipidemia, predisposing young women to develop Type-2 Diabetes (T2D) and Cardiovascular Disease (CVD).