1 June DRC Director's Report - June 2021 June 1, 2021 By The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center DRC, Diabetes, Iowa 0 Pancreatic beta cells are only cells that can make insulin in humans. In type 2 diabetes, pancreatic beta cells are damaged and cannot make sufficient insulin to keep blood glucose levels normal. As overnutrition and obesity is a well-known risk factor for type 2 diabetes, it is important to find a way to protect beta cells from over nutrition. In a recently published study in the scientific journal JCI Insight, led by Dr. Yumi Imai, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and member of the FOEDRC, her laboratory has discovered that a protein known as Perilipin 2 plays an important role in protecting beta cells under nutritional challenge. Perilipin 2, regulates an organelle called lipid droplets that prevent toxic lipids from being released from these lipid droplets. When these lipids or fats are released into the cell, they will damage beta cells and reduce their ability to produce insulin. Diabetes increases the number of lipid droplets that accumulate in beta cells in the pancreas. Therefore, it is very important under these circumstances that more perilipin is available to prevent these lipid droplets from releasing toxic lipids. Their study showed that lowering the levels of perilipin 2 led to increased injury of beta cells and reduced insulin secretion. The study was performed through collaboration with other members of FOEDRC including, Drs. James Ankrum, Brian O’Neill, Samuel Stephens, William Sivitz, and Stefan Strack. Each of these researchers brought specific expertise to the project. For example, they visualized a previously unrecognized connection between perilipin 2 and another organelle the mitochondria (that makes energy for insulin release), using sophisticated techniques and in human islet cells. This study increases our understanding of why beta cells fail during states of overnutrition and identified a new target Perilipin, whose levels if increased can protect beta cells and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Related Articles DRC Director's Report - April 2021 FOEDRC member Matthew Potthoff, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, and graduate student Sharon Jensen-Cody recently wrote a review article entitled: “Hepatokines and metabolism: Deciphering communication from the liver” that was published in the Journal Molecular Metabolism. This article was featured on the cover of the February issue of the Journal, that increased the visibility of their work. DRC Director's Report - January 2021 A recent study by a team of UI researchers led by E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD, Director, FOEDRC discovered eating a ketogenic diet rescued mice from heart failure. The study, published in the November issue of the journal Nature Metabolism, was one of three companion papers from independent research teams that all point to the damaging effects of excess sugar (glucose) and its breakdown products on the heart. The UI study also revealed the potential to mitigate that damage by supplying the heart with alternate fuel sources in the form of high-fat diets. Given its need for a constant, reliable supply of energy, the heart is very flexible about the type of molecules it can burn for fuel. Most of the heart’s energy comes from metabolizing fatty acids, but heart cells can also burn glucose and lactate, and also ketones. DRC Director's Report - March 2021 This month, the Spring 2021 issue of the Iowa Magazine devoted its cover and featured the University of Iowa Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC). The heartwarming article shares real life testimonies of diabetic individuals, cared for at the University of Iowa and the impact of diabetes on their daily life. The desire for relief is real and certainly not lost on physicians and scientists at the FOEDRC. The Center’s mission is to improve the lives of individuals with the disease and find a cure. Every day dedicated FOEDRC scientists conduct a wide range of research projects to improve and benefit the lives of many. DRC Director's Report - May 2021 Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the US and around the world. This is a problem because being obese increases the likelihood of developing serious medical problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and heart failure. Obesity also increases the risks of complications from COVID-19 infections. We still do not understand all of the reasons why obesity develops and why some people develop complications and others do not. In work recently published in the Journal Molecular Metabolism, FOEDRC member Dr. Kamal Rahmouni, PhD, professor of Neuroscience, Pharmacology, and Internal Medicine, in collaboration with FOEDRC colleagues at the University of Iowa, identified a protein complex, called the BBSome. These are present in neurons (nerve cells) in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. DRC Director's Report - June 2020 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. DRC Director's Report - February 2021 The exact mechanisms underlying the metabolic effects of gastric bypass or bariatric surgery remain unclear. At the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Mohamad Mokadem, MD, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and member of FOEDRC, and his research team have developed an animal model of bariatric surgery, which they are using to understand the underlying mechanisms by which this treatment not only prevents obesity but also reverses diabetes. Showing 0 Comment Comments are closed.