3 June DRC Director's Report - June 2020 June 3, 2020 By The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center diabetes, DRC, Dr. Abel 0 FOEDRC members Al Klingelhutz, PhD, Professor of Microbiology & Immunology and Radiation Oncology and James Ankrum, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, have received funding as part of the Iowa Superfund Research Program (ISRP). As co-directors of 1 of the 5 projects, “Role of Airborne PCBs in Adipogenesis, Adipose Function, and Metabolic Syndrome”, they will focus on how the environmentally prevalent toxin PCB ) (polychlorinated biphenyls) accumulation in fat affects the development of obesity, fatty liver disease, and type II diabetes. The ISRP, headed by Keri Hornbuckle, PhD, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will receive a total of $11.4 million over a 5-year period to continue its research on polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, and the impact they have on human health. While metabolic syndrome conditions including obesity, diabetes, and hypertension are known to be affected by genetics, diet, and exercise, a group of University of Iowa researchers are studying how chemicals in our environment play an additional role. The Iowa Superfund Research Program (ISRP) studies various aspects of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), a large family of environmental pollutants, that are often found in schools impacting children during key stages of development. In the most recent renewal of the program, a new project was launched under the co-leadership of Dr. Klingelhutz and Dr. Ankrum, members of the FOEDRC, that focuses on understanding how PCBs disrupt fat function, leading to the development of the metabolic syndrome. PCBs were used extensively in industry for production of light ballast fluid, caulking, paint, and other building materials and as such are found in high levels in many of our nation’s schools. They are found at high levels in school air and are emitted from contaminated waters. While their production in the US has been banned, they are still produced inadvertently in industrial processes and are not naturally degraded. PCBs persist for very long periods of time and exposure through food and air results in accumulation of PCBs in fat tissue. Dr. Klingelhutz and Dr. Ankrum have developed unique tools, including multiple unique immortal human fat cell lines and a 3D human model system of fat, that enable the study of PCB-induced alterations in the maturation and function of human fat in culture. As 1 of 5 projects on the ISRP, their studies will be guided by other ISRP projects to determine which of the hundreds of PCBs are most prevalent in air and which are most abundant in human fat. Findings from this project will be of significant interest to regulatory agencies and communities concerned about how PCB exposure affects the development of metabolic syndrome in children, adolescents, and young adults and guide policy and remediation efforts to create a safer environment for our youth. Related Articles DRC Director's Report - May 2020 Diabetes is a disease of uncontrollable high blood glucose. Insulin, the hormone that reduces blood glucose, is secreted from beta cells embedded in the pancreas in structures called islets. Although overnutrition has been blamed for the inability of beta cells to secrete enough insulin in type 2 diabetes, it has remained unclear how overnutrition causes beta cells to fail. This is a critical question to solve in order to develop effective therapy to protect beta cells in conditions of overnutrition and to cure type 2 diabetes. DRC Director's Report - October 2020 Please join us in welcoming Bhagirath Chaurasia, MS, PhD, to the University of Iowa and to the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center. Dr. Chaurasia also joins the Division of Endocrinology from his previous position as Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology at the University of Utah. He received his PhD from the University of Cologne in Germany before working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore. DRC Director's Report - December 2020 Dr. Vitor Lira Associate Professor of Health and Human Physiology and member of the FOEDRC was recently awarded a new grant from the National Institutes of Health in the amount of $563,723. The grant entitled: “Molecular regulation of protein turnover in skeletal muscle” will study an important condition that afflicts many individuals as they age, particularly those with diabetes. Aging-related skeletal muscle atrophy and weakness, also referred to as sarcopenia, affects millions of people contributing to the development of several chronic conditions associated with poor health outcomes, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative diseases. Although sarcopenia remains poorly understood and lacks effective therapy, aged muscles manifest a problem of poor protein turnover or recycling which is called proteotoxicity. DRC Director's Report - July 2020 The greatest risks to long-term health in people with diabetes arise from diabetic complications, particularly cardiovascular disease. However, the mechanisms by which the metabolic changes associated with type 2 diabetes like insulin resistance increases the risk of heart failure are less understood. In a recent publication in JCI Insight, E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD, and other members of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center in collaboration with other institutions, have uncovered an important molecular link between diabetes and heart failure. DRC Director's Report - August 2020 The prevalence of obesity continues to increase worldwide due to changes in dietary composition including the addition of sweetners to many food products and evolving patterns of eating behaviors. In particular, excessive consumption of sugars has been linked to metabolic diseases such as diabetes, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) is a liver-derived hormone that signals to the brain to reduce sugar intake, but the mechanism for this effect was unknown. This new study by Ph.D. student Sharon Jensen-Cody and other colleagues in the laboratory of Matt Potthoff, Associate Professor in the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Center and Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience discovered that FGF21 signals to specific nerve cells called glutamatergic neurons in the brain to lower sugar intake and sweet-taste preference. DRC Director's Report - September 2020 Renata Pereira, PhD, Research Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism, and member of the FOEDRC, is the recipient of a new NIH R01 grant for $1.9M to support her work entitled The role of the integrated stress response in brown adipose tissue-mediated metabolic adaptations. “Obesity and related conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, are some of the greatest health problems affecting today’s society. In an effort to better understand ways in which the body can increase its metabolism to burn fat and prevent the effects of those diseases, Dr. Pereira has focused her studies on special fat cells called brown (or beige) fat cells. Showing 0 Comment Comments are closed.