Division - Diabetic Complications
Our metabolism is a complex system which is carefully regulated in order to keep our body's energy supply and demand in balance. In diabetes, the balance of glucose and lipids is lost, which can ultimately lead to long-term diabetic complications, including micro- and macro-vascular damage.
Today’s challenges in diabetes research are focused on identifying novel molecular metabolic targets which can prevent and also treat the long-term consequences of the disease.
When we lose the capability of properly regulating our metabolism, we often refer to this disease state as “the metabolic syndrome”. Insulin resistance is not only a core component of the metabolic syndrome and an early feature of pre-diabetic conditions, but also triggers the development and progression of the disease to end-stage type 2 diabetes. The diabetic complications division explores transcriptional, epigenetic and signaling components controlling systemic and tissue-specific insulin sensitivity, and tests their potential to serve as novel therapeutic platforms in diabetes prevention approaches.
Recent experimental and clinical studies show that whilst high blood sugar levels are fundamental to diabetes, the abnormal production or defective clearance of reactive metabolite species critically contribute to long-term complications in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. To support in defining and functionally characterizing pathways in abnormal diabetic metabolite generation and their impact on the development of diabetic long-term complications, the IDC has established a joint Translational Diabetes Program with the University Hospital Heidelberg, and the Collaborative Research Center 1118.
We anticipate that reactive metabolites will provide promising new targets in type 1 and type 2 diabetes therapies.