1 September DRC Director's Report - September 2020 September 1, 2020 By The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center DRC, FOE DRC, Diabetes, diabetes research center, dr. abel, iowa, research, diabetes research 0 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. When exposed to cold temperatures, brown fat cells can burn calories to produce heat and warm up the body. Findings from Dr. Pereira’s laboratory demonstrated that, when mice are exposed to cold temperatures for a brief period of time, a series of reactions in their brown fat cells are triggered, which includes the activation of a stress response called the integrated stress response (ISR). The ISR seems to induce the release of hormones that improve the body’s metabolism, helping the mice burn calories more efficiently. One of these hormones is called growth and differentiation factor 15 (GDF15), which promotes leanness in mice. To investigate this further, she conducted experiments using genetically-engineered mice that lacked a critical protein called optic atrophy 1 (OPA1) in their brown fat cells. In the absence of the OPA1 protein, activation of the ISR and secretion of GDF15 from brown fat cells occurred even at room temperature. As a result, these mice had faster metabolism and were resistant to obesity and diabetes, even when consuming a diet very high in fat. These findings indicate that the processes that activate the ISR in fat cells either by cold temperatures or OPA1 deletion are likely to be the same. Dr. Pereira’s work seeks to identify the specifics of these processes and harness them into new treatments for diabetes and obesity. Activating the ISR in these cells improves the body’s metabolic health in two ways: it increases the fat-burning properties of the cells, and produces leanness due to the secretion of GDF15 and potentially other anti-obesity hormones. Completion of this project will reveal the mechanisms underlying ISR activation and the role of the ISR and GDF15 in brown fat cells, potentially leading to new ways to combat obesity and associated disorders in humans. 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 - 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 - 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 - January 2020 The New Year is a good time to reflect on our past progress and to look forward to research advances in the year to come. In this regard, the receipt of endowed chairs recognizes faculty whom we believe have established a track record of accomplishment and whose ongoing success will pave the way for the future of the FOEDRC. Therefore, we would like to recognize Dr. Sue Bodine, Dr. Ayotunde Dokun, and Dr. Kamal Rahmouni, the three newest recipients of endowed chairs from the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC). DRC Director's Report - April 2020 I am excited to report that Sam Stephens, PhD, Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center member, and Assistant Professor of Internal and Molecular Medicine was recently awarded a $1.2 million grant. The grant was awarded by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), administered by the Department of Defense for diabetes research. Showing 0 Comment Comments are closed.