Mexican Americans living in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) have a high prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D). The US–Mexico border frontier has a unique blended culture of American lifestyle and Mexican traditions. Some examples of the cultural traditions are the food and the use of herbal medicine, but these traditions are in danger of disappearing after a very short number of generations living in the United States. This article describes the use of animal models under experimental conditions to solve practical questions (etiology or treatment). We performed studies with murine (ie, mouse and rat) models to elucidate the characteristics of medicinal plants that modulate glucose metabolism and inflammation and protect from bone loss, complications related to T2D. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley researchers also have collaborated with the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio researchers in performing studies in nonhuman primates (NHP) (ie, baboon) to understand the effect of T2D and diets on organs and tissues. With the new knowledge gained from the use of animal models (murine and NHP), new therapies are discovered for the prevention and treatment of T2D and its related complications, such as bone loss and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, all of which the Mexican American and other human populations are at high risk of developing.

You do not currently have access to this content.