Division Diabetic Complications

Aorta. Source: Niopek/SFB

Diabetic metabolism represents a complex de-arrangement of glucose and lipid homeostasis, ultimately leading to diabetic long-term complications including micro- and macro-vascular damage.

Current challenges in diabetes research thus comprise the identification of novel molecular-metabolic targets to both prevent and treat long-term consequences of diabetes.

Insulin resistance defines a core component of the Metabolic Syndrome and early feature of pre-diabetic conditions, thereby significantly triggering the development of end-stage Type 2 Diabetes. The diabetes division at the IDC thus 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.

In addition to hyperglycemia per se, recent experimental and clinical studies indicate that the aberrant generation and/or defective clearance of reactive metabolite species critically contribute to long-term complications in both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. The IDC has established a joint Translational Diabetes Program with the University Hospital Heidelberg, Germany, and the Collaborative Research Center 1118 to define and functionally characterize pathways in aberrant diabetic metabolite generation and their impact on the development of diabetic long-term complications. Ultimately, reactive metabolites are anticipated to provide as-yet non appreciated targets in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes therapies.