2 October New Muscle Wasting Research Holds Promise at UI October 2, 2017 By The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center 0 DRC Director's Report, October 2017 A hearty “Congratulations!” is in order for Dr. Christopher Adams, Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism, and member of the FOE DRC who is the recipient of a five-year, $2.4M grant from the National Institutes of Health to study skeletal muscle atrophy. Dr. Adams holds an FOEDRC endowed chair, and this recent success underscores the important impact of the investment of the FOEDRC towards the ongoing success of his research program. In preliminary studies, performed in mouse models, Dr. Adams and members of his lab identified the first example of a protein that is required for the loss of skeletal muscle mass, quality, strength, and endurance exercise capacity during aging: the transcription factor ATF4. Muscle wasting is a very serious problem that affects millions of people as they become older and/or develop illnesses such as diabetes. Unfortunately, however, muscle wasting is poorly understood and lacks a medical therapy. The Adams’ Lab research is focused on a protein called ATF4, which acts as a switch that turns on genes that cause muscle wasting. By studying how ATF4 works, we hope to understand how muscle wasting occurs and identify new ways to treat patients. Related Articles DRC Researcher Chris Adams Develops New Therapy for Age-Related Muscle Atrophy Scientists at the FOE Diabetes Research Center and University of Iowa have discovered the first example of a protein that causes muscle weakness and loss during aging. The protein, ATF4, is a transcription factor that alters gene expression in skeletal muscle, causing reduction of muscle protein synthesis, strength, and mass. The UI study also identifies two natural compounds, one found in apples and one found in green tomatoes, which reduce ATF4 activity in aged skeletal muscle. Stressing Muscle Metabolism Prevents Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Exciting new research was recently published in the EMBO Journal by the laboratory of FOEDRC Director, Dale Abel. The study suggests that gently stressing muscle metabolism could help prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes. The study was carried out on mice where the team found triggering a type of metabolic stress increased levels of a hormone called fibroblast growth factor-21 (FGF21). The findings showed the animals were completely protected from obesity and diabetes. Interestingly, in the mice which had already started to develop the condition, the hormone reversed the diabetes and helped them return to a normal weight with normal blood sugar levels. Adams Named Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Chair Christopher Adams, MD, PhD, has been named the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Chair. This position has been endowed by the Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE) to propel and accelerate the pace of discoveries in the FOE Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC), whose mission is to advance knowledge of the mechanisms of diabetes and its related complications through cutting-edge research. American Diabetes Association Supports FOEDRC Researchers DRC Director's Report - January 2018 Three researchers from the FOEDRC received new grants from the American Diabetes Association for groundbreaking research. The ability of our members to receive these competitive awards is truly remarkable and underscores the quality and rigor of the research that is being conducted in the FOEDRC. There are few institutions that received multiple awards in this current round of ADA funding. The awards to Drs. Ling Yang, Rajan Sah and Adam Rauckhorst are summarized below. DRC Researchers Publish Major Breakthrough In Understanding How Diabetes Induces Eye Damage In the retina, diabetes damages nerves before it damages blood vessels. Diabetes is a major risk factor for severe vision loss and blindness. A condition known as retinal diabetic neuropathy causes visual impairment through the degeneration of small nerves (neurons) in light-sensitive tissue called the retina, which lines the back of the eye. Abel Chosen To Lead One of Four American Heart Association Research Networks E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD, has been awarded a four-year $3.8M grant from the American Heart Association (AHA) to investigate mechanisms that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in people with type 2 diabetes. Abel will oversee a Strategically Focused Research Network (SFRN) of three projects in partnership with other UI departments and the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard Medical School. The team will examine the relationship between novel secreted molecules from liver, adipose tissue, and skeletal muscle that may directly or indirectly lead to damage of the heart and blood vessels in individuals with diabetes. Showing 0 Comment Comments are closed.