Basaraba, Randall , PhD
Immunofluoresecent detection of glucose and fatty acid transporters in diabetic guinea pigs with tuberculosis
General Research Subject: Type 2 Diabetes
Focus: Diabetic Dyslipidemia, Immunology, Insulin Action, Insulin Action\Insulin Resistance
Type of Grant: Minority Undergraduate Internship
Project Start Date: January 1, 2013
Project End Date: December 31, 2013
Diabetes Type: Type 2 diabetes
Diabetes significantly increases the risk of contracting tuberculosis, an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Because the incidence of diabetes is increasing in parts of the world where tuberculosis is endemic, the occurrence of these two serious diseases in the same individual is further complicating efforts to control both tuberculosis and diabetes. The funds obtained through our original ADA grant was used to develop a guinea pig model of type 2 diabetes and tuberculosis. Ashley Quick Bear is a pre-med student at Colorado State University who will work with us on this project to obtain her first experience doing basic diabetes research.
In this proposed research Ahsley will use a special staining technique on tissues collected from diabetic guinea pigs with tuberculosis to determine whether they still have cells that produce the hormones insulin and glucagon. She will also use this technique to look at lung tissue sections to determine whether inflammatory cells that respond to the bacterial infection in diabetics express surface expressed proteins that take up glucose and lipids from the blood. These studies will determine whether the increased severity of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases in diabetics is due to the increased availability of potential energy sources that can also be used by the bacteria. This innovative research may reveal not only basic mechanisms of disease but novel treatment strategies for both diabetes and tuberculosis especially when they occur together.
Mentor: Randall Basaraba
Undergraduate: Ashley Quick Bear
What area of diabetes research does your project cover? What role will this particular project play in preventing, treating, and curing diabetes?
One of the consequences of diabetes is increased susceptibility to a wide variety of infectious diseases. Diabetes has for hundreds of years known to be a risk factor for contracting the bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that causes tuberculosis. With the growing diabetes epidemic worldwide, the numbers of diabetes cases are increasing in parts of the world that also have a high incidence of tuberculosis. Our research focus is to gain a better understanding of why diabetics are more susceptible to tuberculosis and why both diabetes and tuberculosis are more severe and difficult to treat when they occur together in the same individual. We use animal models of diabetes and tuberculosis comorbidity to study the basic mechanisms of disease and to test new treatment strategies to better treat both diabetes and tuberculosis.
If a person with diabetes were to ask you how your project will help them in the future, how would you respond?
As a person that lives with diabetes, you are at increased risk of contracting any variety of infectious diseases. When a bacterial or viral disease occurs in a diabetic patient, both diabetes and the infectious agent can be more difficult to treat with the drugs we currently have available to us. One of the major gaps in our knowledge is why diabetics are more susceptible to infection and why infections and diabetes are more difficult to treat when they occur together in the same individual. Our research is aimed at better understanding what accounts for this increased susceptibility and treatment complications. Our research may reveal how to not only better treat diabetes and infections when they occur together but how to prevent them as well.
Why is it important for you, personally, to become involved in diabetes research? What role will this award play in your efforts?
As a research scientist, you always hope that your work will have a positive impact even if small. Diabetes is such an important disease because it can have a big impact on the quality of ones life and because it affects so many people around the world. With the growing incidence of diabetes in underdeveloped countries, we are faced with new diabetes treatment and management challenges that could not be anticipated. Our laboratory and out institution is unique in that it is among the few worldwide that has the resources and expertise to model diabetes and tuberculosis in an animal model. Because of the unique research environment we feel that we can contribute significantly to increasing awareness of the emerging diabetes, tuberculosis co morbidity and help to develop the next generation of treatment and prevention strategies throughout research.
In what direction do you see the future of diabetes research going?
With the growing incidence of diabetes in low and middle income countries, the awareness and treatment options for all diabetic patients has to continue spread, preferably faster than the disease itself. The ADA has had a major impact on the education and advancement of diabetes research in the United States and worldwide and must continue to be the leader. Among the greatest challenges is to transfer that knowledge and technology that we have access to in this country to less fortunate, resource poor countries and communities. The emerging interface between diabetes and infectious diseases that are not endemic to the United States will be a new frontier in the prevention and treatment of diabetes. This may necessitate the need to rethink the strategies we use to treat and prevent diabetes in the face of infectious diseases. An example is that vaccines that are developed to prevent bacterial and viral infections may have to be modified to be effective in diabetic patients or individuals that are at increased risk for diabetes.
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