6 November DRC Director's Report - November 2018 November 6, 2018 By The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center 0 We have known for a very long time that obesity is associated with many cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease (where liver stores fat in large lipid droplets), coronary artery disease, heart failure, and many more chronic diseases are all linked to obesity. Although there are many factors at play in an obese human that contribute to these diseases, one common theme that all have in common is something called ‘carbonyl stress.’ Carbonyl stress is a particular form of oxidative stress (i.e., ‘free radicals, hydrogen peroxide, etc). Although carbonyl stress can be a good thing in small quantities, such as with exercise, we know that with obesity, carbonyl stress coming from highly reactive lipids and sugars can cause lasting damage to proteins, DNA, and other necessary ‘building blocks’ in the cell. Fortunately, cells have many natural defense systems that work to counteract this stress, and one of these is the amino L-carnosine. L-carnosine is a naturally occurring dipeptide that humans have in high quantities in muscle, heart and brain, and it is beneficial because it neutralizes carbonyls, thus rendering them harmless. Humans actually consume carnosine with the meat that we eat- white meat such as chicken has particularly very high levels of carnosine. Unfortunately, immediately after getting absorbed into our bloodstream, our bodies have an enzyme called ‘carnosinase’ that breaks down the carnosine, making it no longer effective as a carbonyl scavenger. The work by Ethan Anderson, PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmacology and member of the FOEDRC, and collaborators which was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation is the result of a collaboration between his laboratory and other labs across the United States and Italy. It is important for two main reasons. First, Anderson’s group and another group of medicinal chemists in Italy had the clever idea to create a slightly modified version of l-carnosine that is resistant to carnosinase, yet still retains the ability to scavenge the reactive lipids and sugars. Since it is essentially the same structure as the natural carnosine, this new molecule, ‘Carnosinol,’ displays almost no toxicity at all, and can be administered in drinking water because it is tasteless. Most importantly, Anderson’s group used multiple rodent models of obesity caused by high fat, high sugar diet, to show that Carnosinol substantially reversed metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disease in the obese animals. Of particular importance is that Carnosinol restored insulin sensitivity in the treated mice, meaning that it may be effective as a drug for ‘pre-diabetes’ in obese patients. Unpublished findings from this study also demonstrated that Carnosinol greatly improved the structure and metabolic capacity of the heart. Collectively, what is most exciting is that this work may represent a ‘first-in-class’ new drug therapy that could help reverse the metabolic and cardiovascular disorders known to be associated with obesity. As a recent recruit to the University of Iowa and the FOEDRC, Anderson and his group in the College of Pharmacy will continue to find new and better ways to exploit the beneficial effects of l-carnosine through medicinal chemistry, and work to bring these therapies to the clinic. Related Articles DRC Director's Report - December 2018 As we come to the end of another successful year for the FOEDRC, I want to thank the FOE and my colleagues within the Diabetes Research Center for continuing to push the research boundaries to improve the lives of many who suffer from diabetes. On a personal note, I received a number of honors for my work this year including being asked to deliver the Presidential Lecture of the University of Iowa, receiving Fraternal Order of Eagles Humanitarian Award and the 2018 History Makers Award - the African American Museum of Iowa (AAMI). My receipt of this recognition is really a recognition of what you do and I consider myself very fortunate to lead such an outstanding organization. To close out the year I thought you might be interested in reading about some ways that our researchers are turning “fun and games” into a benefit for our patients with diabetes. DRC Director's Report - December 2018 As we come to the end of another successful year for the FOEDRC, I want to thank the FOE and my colleagues within the Diabetes Research Center for continuing to push the research boundaries to improve the lives of many who suffer from diabetes. On a personal note, I received a number of honors for my work this year including being asked to deliver the Presidential Lecture of the University of Iowa, receiving Fraternal Order of Eagles Humanitarian Award and the 2018 History Makers Award - the African American Museum of Iowa (AAMI). My receipt of this recognition is really a recognition of what you do and I consider myself very fortunate to lead such an outstanding organization. To close out the year I thought you might be interested in reading about some ways that our researchers are turning “fun and games” into a benefit for our patients with diabetes. DRC Director's Report - March 2019 Brian T. O’Neill, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Endocrinology in the Department of Internal Medicine and member of the FOEDRC recently published in the journal Diabetes the discovery that FoxO proteins, which are transcription factors that regulate DNA, are the critical regulators of diabetes-related muscle atrophy. DRC Director's Report - January 2019 The new year is always a time to look back and reflect on the many achievements of the prior year. I have been pleased that the Fraternal Order of Eagles has committed continued support to a program that will be overseen by the FOEDRC that seeks to develop new treatments for diabetes and its complications and to bring them ultimately to market. The Bridge to the cure program represents an innovative collaboration and we are excited by what this new year will bring. For this reason, I have chosen to write about one example from a FOEDRC member that recently demonstrated the ability of the compound nicotinamide riboside to restore nerve damage from chemotherapy. We believe that this same mechanism could lead to improved nerve function in people with diabetes. I hope that you will enjoy reading about this exciting advance below. DRC Director's Report - February 2019 The Department of Defense office of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs has awarded DRC member, Ethan Anderson, Associate Professor College of Pharmacy, funding as part of its Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) Discovery Award competition. The project is: Exploiting the Paracrine-Like Effect of Prohibitin-1 to Treat Septic Cardiomyopathy. The grant will provide $310,000 in total support over a 2-year period. DRC Director's Report - April 2019 In a recent study done by Wei Bao, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and member of the FOEDRC, his research team found that frequent consumption of fried foods, especially fried chicken and fried fish/shellfish, was associated with a higher risk of death from all causes and cardiovascular disease in women in the United States. Women with at least one serving per week of fried chicken had a 13% higher risk of death from all causes, and a 12% higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease, when compared with women with no consumption of fried chicken. Showing 0 Comment Comments are closed.