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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - November 2020 FOE Diabetes Research Center scientists from the University of Iowa have discovered a safe new way to manage blood sugar non-invasively. Exposing diabetic mice to a combination of static electric and magnetic fields for a few hours per day normalizes two major hallmarks of type 2 diabetes, namely reducing blood glucose levels and preventing insulin resistance. These new findings were published Oct. 6 in Cell Metabolism. Showing 0 Comment Comments are closed.