Lecka-Czernik, Beata Anna, PhD
Adipose tissue acquires bone anabolic activity in response to PPARgamma selective activation
General Research Subject: Type 2 Diabetes
Focus: Adipocytes, Clinical Therapeutics/New Technology, Clinical Therapeutics/New Technology\Pharmacologic Treatment of Diabetes or its Complications, Other
Type of Grant: Basic Science
Project Start Date: July 1, 2013
Project End Date: June 30, 2016
Diabetes Type: Type 2 diabetes
The epidemic of Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis has raised significant public health concerns. It is estimated that 26 million people of US population have diabetes with additional 79 million diagnosed with prediabetic conditions. The highest prevalence of diabetes is observed among elderly population which is simultaneously at risk of osteoporosis affecting 44 million Americans. Diabetes and osteoporosis share many features including genetic predispositions and molecular mechanisms suggesting that developing a common treatment for both disorders is possible. The anti-diabetic TZD drugs have been very efficient in combating diabetes. However, it has been recently showed that elderly patients on TZD therapy have a low bone mass and fracture bone more often. TZDs negatively affect bone marrow stem cells, which are responsible for maintenance of bone mass, leading to accumulation of fat cells instead of bone cells in the bone marrow.
Recent studies showed that certain compounds which can lower blood sugar can also stimulate development of so called "beige" fat which acts as a calorie-burning furnace, as oppose to "white" fat which stores energy and leads to obesity. It has been shown that in fat cells these compounds induce production of proteins which may increase bone mass. This proposal investigates a possibility to develop therapy which would simultaneously treat diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis.
What area of diabetes research does your project cover? What role will this particular project play in preventing, treating and/or curing diabetes?
My project is focusing on improvement of anti-diabetic therapies in respect to their safety for bone. Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis are the most common diseases among U.S. population. It is estimated that 26 million people have diabetes with additional 79 million diagnosed with prediabetic conditions. The highest prevalence of diabetes is observed among elderly population which is simultaneously at risk of osteoporosis which affects 44 million Americans. Diabetic patients fracture bone up to 7-fold more often than non-diabetic individuals.
In addition, therapies with anti-diabetic TZD drugs, which are very efficient in combating diabetes, have adverse effect on bone causing loss of bone mass and increasing fractures, especially in older individuals. TZDs negatively affect stem cells residing in the bone, which are responsible for maintenance of bone mass. Recent studies showed that certain compounds which can lower blood sugar can also stimulate development of so called "beige" fat which acts as a calorie-burning furnace, as oppose to "white" fat which stores energy and leads to obesity. We have showed that these "beige" fat cells also release proteins which may increase bone mass. In this project we investigate possibility to develop drugs will simultaneously treat diabetes, osteoporosis and perhaps obesity.
If a person with diabetes were to ask you how your project will help them in the future,
how would you respond?
These studies will investigate a possibility to develop anti-diabetic therapy which will efficiently control glucose levels and at the same time will protect bone from its loss. These studies may improve health management and life quality of diabetic patients by controlling glucose levels and bone mass using one drug instead of at least two different drugs.
Why is it important for you, personally, to become involved in diabetes research? What role will this award play in your research efforts?
I have a long standing interest in the research, which investigates bone status in diabetic patients. I had started this research in 1995 with finding that some of the anti-diabetic therapies may increase bone loss in treated patients. This led me to the conclusion that diabetes and osteoporosis may share common mechanisms, which have to be addressed during development of new anti-diabetic therapies. In light of the prevalence of diabetes and osteoporosis in our society, I strongly believe that research which integrates these two diseases will significantly contribute to the better health care for patients which suffer diabetes. This is my third research award from the American Diabetes Association to investigate skeletal complications in diabetic disease. I am honored and very grateful to the Association and its members for their vision and dedication to improve health of diabetic patients.
In what direction do you see the future of diabetes research going?
Diabetes is a very complex disease which affects every organ in the body, including bone. I see the future of diabetes research in developing interdisciplinary and system physiology approaches, which will allow for development of the therapies controlling not only blood glucose levels but being also beneficial in controlling functions of other organs. Such approach will improve the safety of already existing and newly developed drugs to combat diabetic disease.
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