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News Article | February 16, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

The Helmholtz Zentrum München has published results of the largest genome-wide association study on proteomics to date. An international team of scientists reports 539 associations between protein levels and genetic variants in 'Nature Communications'. These associations overlap with risk genes for 42 complex diseases. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) provide an opportunity to associate concentration changes in certain proteins or metabolic products with gene loci. Knowledge of these genes makes it possible to establish connections to complex diseases. Scientists utilize the fact that to date, hundreds of associations between genetic variants and complex diseases have been demonstrated. These associations are immensely important because they do help uncover the underlying molecular mechanisms. "In the world's largest proteomics GWAS to date, we worked with colleagues* to examine blood samples from 1,000 participants in the KORA study**," reports Dr. Gabi Kastenmüller. She is acting director and head of the Metabolomics Group at the Institute of Bioinformatics and Systems Biology (IBIS) at the Helmholtz Zentrum München. The team quantified a total of 1,100 proteins. Dr. Christian Gieger, head of the Molecular Epidemiology Research Unit (AME) at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, adds: "We found 539 independent associations between protein levels and genetic variants." These overlap with genetic risk variants for 42 complex conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimer's disease. "Our results provide new insights into the biological processes that are influenced by a very wide range of complex diseases and that can be used as a basis for the development of new strategies to predict and prevent these diseases," Gieger states. The team is now planning to investigate the exact mechanisms behind the new gene-protein associations. * Participants from the Helmholtz Zentrum München were: The Molecular Epidemiology Research Unit (AME), the Institute of Epidemiology 2 (EPI2), the Institute of Bioinformatics and Systems Biology (IBIS), and the Institute of Genetic Epidemiology (IGE). External partners were the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), the German Center for Cardiovascular Disease (DZHK), and Weill Cornell Medicine, Qatar and Doha, Qatar. ** KORA study: The "Kooperative Gesundheitsforschung in der Region Augsburg" (Cooperative Health Research in the Augsburg Region) study has been investigating the health of thousands of people living in the Greater Augsburg area for 30 years. The objective is to understand the effects of environmental factors, lifestyle and genes. Key topics of the KORA studies are issues involving the genesis and progress of chronic diseases, particularly cardiac infarction and diabetes mellitus. Risk factors from the area of health-related behaviour (such as smoking, nutrition, and physical activity), environmental factors (including air and noise pollution), and genetics are explored for this purpose. Issues regarding the utilization and costs of healthcare are examined from the point of view of healthcare research. http://www. Original publication: Karsten Suhre et al. (2017): Connecting genetic risk to disease endpoints through the human blood plasma proteome, Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14357. The Helmholtz Zentrum München, as the German Research Center for Environmental Health, pursues the objective of developing personalized medicine for the diagnosis, therapy, and prevention of widespread diseases such as diabetes mellitus and lung diseases. To this end, it investigates the interactions of genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle. The Zentrum's headquarters is located in Neuherberg in the north of Munich. The Helmholtz Zentrum München employs around 2,300 people and is a member of the Helmholtz Association, which has 18 scientific-technical and biological-medical research centres with around 37,000 employees. http://www. The Institute of Bioinformatics and Systems Biology (IBIS) concentrates on the analysis and interpretation of large, high-dimensional biological data sets in order to extract from them information on the molecular basis of complex diseases. In this framework, the institute systematically examines genetic variants, expression patterns, and protein and metabolite profiles and their associations. IBIS develops new bioinformatic and systems biology methods and resources that make it possible to model and visualize high throughput data and the results gained from them. http://www. The Molecular Epidemiology Research Unit (AME) analyses population-based cohorts and case studies for certain diseases with the help of genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and functional analyses. The objective is to explain the molecular mechanisms in complex diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity. The unit runs the epidemiology biosample bank and handles sample administration and storage for national and international projects. http://www.


Joost H.-G.,German Institute of Human Nutrition | Joost H.-G.,German Center for Diabetes Research
Diabetes and Vascular Disease Research | Year: 2014

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is an independent risk factor for cancer such as pancreatic, liver, colorectal and breast cancer. In addition, diabetes decreases the risk of prostate cancer. These associations have been found in numerous epidemiological studies, among them several prospective cohorts. However, such studies do not prove causality of the association and cannot exclude inadequate correction for known confounders (e.g. visceral fat) or the influence of unknown confounders. Thus, it is unclear whether the cancer risk is increased by the causes (e.g. the metabolic syndrome), the metabolic consequences (e.g. hyperglycaemia) or the therapy of diabetes; a question which is of major importance for therapeutic guidelines. Identification of the potential mechanisms by which the diabetes or its therapy accelerates or inhibits the development of cancer will help answering the question by providing biological plausibility. This review will summarize the evidence supporting the association of cancer and type 2 diabetes and discuss its potential causes. © 2014 The Author(s).


News Article | February 16, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

The global proliferation of overweight and obese people and people with type 2 diabetes is often associated with the consumption of saturated fats. Scientists at the German Diabetes Center (Deutsches Diabetes-Zentrum, DDZ) and the Helmholtz Center in Munich (HMGU) have found that even the one-off consumption of a greater amount of palm oil reduces the body's sensitivity to insulin and causes increased fat deposits as well as changes in the energy metabolism of the liver. The results of the study provide information on the earliest changes in the metabolism of the liver that in the long term lead to fatty liver disease in overweight persons as well as in those with type 2 diabetes. In the current issue of the "Journal of Clinical Investigation", DZD researchers working at the German Diabetes Center, in conjunction with the Helmholtz Center in Munich and colleagues from Portugal, published a scientific investigation conducted on healthy, slim men, who were given at random a flavored palm oil drink or a glass of clear water in a control experiment. The palm oil drink contained a similar amount of saturated fat as two cheeseburgers with bacon and a large portion of French fries or two salami pizzas. The scientists showed that this single high-fat meal sufficed to reduce the insulin action, e.g. cause insulin resistance and increase the fat content of the liver. In addition, changes in the energy balance of the liver were proven. The observed metabolic changes were similar to changes observed in persons with type 2 diabetes or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is the most common liver disease in the industrial nations and associated with obesity, the so-called "metabolic syndrome," and is associated with an increased risk in developing type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, NAFLD in advanced stages can result in severe liver damage. "The surprise was that a single dosage of palm oil has such a rapid and direct impact on the liver of a healthy person and that the amount of fat administered already triggered insulin resistance", explained Prof. Dr. Michael Roden, scientist, Managing Director and Chairman at the DDZ and the German Center for Diabetes Research (Deutsches Zentrum für Diabetesforschung, DZD). "A special feature of our study is that we monitored the liver metabolism of people with a predominantly non-invasive technology, e.g. by magnetic resonance spectroscopy. This allows us to track the storage of sugar and fat as well as the energy metabolism of the mitochondria (power plants of the cell)." Thanks to the new methods of investigation, the scientists were able to verify that the intake of palm oil affects the metabolic activity of muscles, liver and fatty tissue. The induced insulin resistance leads to an increased new formation of sugar in the liver with a concomitant decreased sugar absorption in the skeletal muscles - a mechanism that makes the glucose level rise in persons afflicted with type 2 diabetes and its pre-stages. In addition, the insulin resistance of the fatty tissue causes an increased release of fats into the blood stream, which in turn continues to foster the insulin resistance. The increased availability of fat leads to an increased workload for the mitochondria, which can in the long term overtax these cellular power plants and contribute to the emergence of a liver disease. The team of Prof. Roden suspects that healthy people, depending on genetic predisposition, can easily manage this direct impact of fatty food on the metabolism. The long-term consequences for regular eaters of such high-fat meals can be far more problematic, however. This paper is promoted by the Federal Ministry of Health, the Ministry for Innovation, Science and Research of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (Deutsches Zentrum für Diabetesforschung e.V.), as well as the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG), the German Diabetes Society (DDG) and the Schmutzler Foundation. Elisa Álvarez Hernández, Sabine Kahl, Anett Seelig, Paul Begovatz, Martin Irmler, Yuliya Kupriyanova, Bettina Nowotny, Peter Nowotny, Christian Herder, Cristina Barosa, Filipa Carvalho, Jan Rozman, Susanne Neschen, John G. Jones, Johannes Beckers, Martin Hrab? de Angelis and Michael Roden, Acute dietary fat intake initiates alterations in energy metabolism and insulin resistance, J Clin Invest. 2017, January 23, 2017. doi:10.1172/JCI89444. The German Diabetes Center (DDZ) is the German reference center for diabetes. The goal is to contribute to the prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of diabetes mellitus. At the same time, the research center aims at improving the epidemiological data situation in Germany. DDZ is in charge of the multi-center German Diabetes Study. It is the point of contact for all players in the health sector. In addition, it prepares scientific information on diabetes mellitus and makes it available to the public. DDZ is part of "Wissenschaftsgemeinschaft Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz" (WGL) and is a partner of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD e.V.). The German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) is a national association that brings together experts in the field of diabetes research and combines basic research, translational research, epidemiology and clinical applications. The aim is to develop novel strategies for personalized prevention and treatment of diabetes. Members are Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health, the German Diabetes Center in Düsseldorf, the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam-Rehbrücke, the Paul Langerhans Institute Dresden of the Helmholtz Zentrum München at the University Medical Center Carl Gustav Carus of the TU Dresden and the Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases of the Helmholtz Zentrum München at the Eberhard-Karls-University of Tuebingen together with associated partners at the Universities in Heidelberg, Cologne, Leipzig, Lübeck and Munich. The Helmholtz Zentrum München, the German Research Center for Environmental Health, pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich and has about 2,300 staff members. It is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 18 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 37,000 staff members


News Article | November 2, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

According to a new nutritional study conducted by the German Institute of Human Nutrition (DIfE) on individuals with type 2 diabetes, high-protein diets reduced liver fat by up to 48 percent within six weeks. It did not matter whether the diet was mainly based on plant or animal protein. The team of scientists led by Mariya Markova, Olga Pivovarova, Silke Hornemann and Andreas F. H. Pfeiffer of DIfE, a partner of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), has now published its findings in the journal Gastroenterology (Markova et al. 2016; DOI: http://dx. ). Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common chronic liver disease in Europe and the U.S. "When left untreated, fatty liver is an important step progress to type 2 diabetes and can develop into liver cirrhosis, which can have life-threatening effects," said endocrinologist Andreas F. H. Pfeiffer of DIfE, who led the study. "Since the number of affected persons is increasing, it is therefore more important than ever to work together with our partners to develop effective dietary strategies that prevent the disease," he added. Various studies throughout the world have already investigated the effects of high-protein diets on human metabolism. In many of these studies, scientists have observed beneficial effects on body weight, liver fat content, blood lipid levels, long-term blood glucose levels and muscle mass retention. However, some studies have also concluded that high protein intake can reduce insulin activity and affect renal function. Since both positive as well as negative effects have been observed, the researchers at DIfE posed the question whether the protein source was decisive for the respective effect. Therefore, in the current study, they investigated the effects of two high-protein diets* on the metabolism of 37 female and male subjects between the ages of 49 and 78 years suffering from type 2 diabetes and, in most cases, from fatty liver. The two diets differed only in the protein sources, which were either mainly plant or animal origin. To ensure that the weight of the participants remained stable during the entire study and that any weight loss could not influence the result, the scientists individually adjusted the energy content of the diet to each individual. The scientists randomized which of the two diet forms each participant should follow. The main source for the plant protein group were foods such as noodles or bread that were enriched with pea protein and were especially prepared by the company IGV Institut für Getreideverarbeitung GmbH. The animal protein group consumed lean milk products as well as white meat and fish as protein sources. "As our results show, all study participants benefited from the high-protein diet, whether based on plant or animal protein. Negative effects on renal function or glucose metabolism were not observed," said first author Markova. "Liver fat content decreased significantly, in half of the study participants by more than 50 percent. In conjunction with this, we observed favorable changes in the liver and lipid metabolism, improved insulin sensitivity of the participants and in addition a significant reduction in the hormone fibroblast growth factor 21 in the blood," added Olga Pivovarova, who along with Mariya Markova and Silke Hornemann coordinated the current study. The function of the hormone released by the liver into the blood has not yet been adequately clarified and thus the results are not easy to interpret, according to the scientist. However, previous studies have shown that the hormone affects different organs and adipose tissue. Especially in overweight people, high concentrations are found in the blood. According to Silke Hornemann, a physician involved in the study, other studies as well as their own studies suggest that the hormone concentration also depends on the type and quantity of the consumed macronutrients. "Larger and longer studies are needed to better understand the metabolic mechanisms underlying the observation, to study the long-term effects, and to see whether also younger patients would benefit from the change in diet," said Pfeiffer. "The favorable effects we observed in the study may also be age-dependent, because the study participants were on average older than sixty years of age. If no renal disease is present, sufficient protein supply plays an important role particularly in this age group. For example, a decrease in muscle mass is often associated with age," Pfeiffer added. Further research is still needed to elucidate the hormonal regulation mechanisms involved. In conclusion, however, it can be said that from the observations and taking into account environmentally relevant aspects, consumers should preferably rely on plant foods for their protein source. In both diets, the respective protein content contributed 30 percent to the energy supply. The proportion of carbohydrate intake amounted to 40 percent, and fats amounted to 30 percent of the energy supply. In addition, the nutritionists advised both groups to maintain an equal intake of saturated, mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Prior to the change in diet of the study participants the protein content of their diet contributed an average of 17 percent to the energy supply, the carbohydrate content 42 percent and fat content 41 percent. Foods such as lean meat, fish, eggs and low-fat dairy products are very rich in protein, as are legumes (e.g. peas, beans, lentils), nuts and almonds. According to the German Nutrient Database (Bundeslebensmittelschlüssel), 100 grams of roast turkey breast contain 25.2 grams of protein, and 100 grams of dried green peas contain 22.9 grams. The German Society of Nutrition (DGE) recommends for adults a daily intake of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. That means for a body weight of 60 kilograms, for example, 48 grams of protein per day. (Source: DGE). The German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke (DIfE) is a member of the Leibniz Association. It investigates the causes of diet-related diseases in order to develop new strategies for prevention and therapy and to provide dietary recommendations. Its research focus includes the causes and consequences of the metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of obesity, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and lipid metabolism disorder, as well as the role of diet in healthy aging and the biological basis of food choices and eating habits. In addition, the DIfE is a partner of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), which has been funded since 2009 by the BMBF. More information on the DZD can be found at http://www. The Leibniz Association is the umbrella organization for 88 independent research institutions whose spectrum encompasses the natural, engineering and environmental sciences, economics and the spatial and social sciences as well as the humanities. Leibniz Institutes address issues of social, economic and ecological relevance. They conduct knowledge-driven and applied basic research, also in the overarching Leibniz research networks, as well as constitute or maintain scientific infrastructures and provide research-based services. The Leibniz Association sets priorities in knowledge transfer, in particular with the Leibniz research museums. It provides advice and information for policymakers, academia, business and industry and the general public. Leibniz Institutes collaborate intensively with universities - e.g. in the form of "Leibniz Science Campi" as well as with industry and other partners in Germany and abroad. They are subject to a transparent and independent review procedure. Due to their importance for Germany as a whole, they are funded jointly by the federal and state governments. Leibniz Institutes employ some 18,100 individuals, including 9,200 scientists. The overall budget of the institutes amounts to more than EUR 1.6 billion. More information can be found at http://www. . Dr. Gisela Olias Coordinator for Press and Public Relations German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke (DIfE) phone: +49 (0)33200 88-2278/-2335 e-mail: olias@dife.de or presse@dife.de http://www.


News Article | November 7, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Certain proteins in the blood of children can predict incipient type 1 diabetes, even before the first symptoms appear. A team of scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, partners in the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), reported these findings in the Diabetologia journal. The work was based on two large studies that are intended to explain the mechanisms behind the development of type 1 diabetes (BABYDIAB and BABYDIET*). The study participants are children who have a first-degree relative with type 1 diabetes and who consequently have an increased risk of developing the disease due to the familial predisposition. This autoimmune process does not develop from one day to the next, however: Often the young patients go through longer asymptomatic preliminary stages that see the formation of the first antibodies against the child's own insulin-producing cells in the pancreas; these are the so-called autoantibodies. Biomarkers that indicate whether and when this is the case and how quickly the clinical symptoms will appear could significantly improve the treatment of patients at-risk. A team of scientists, led by Dr. Stefanie Hauck, head of the Research Unit Protein Science and the Core Facility Proteomics, and Prof. Dr. Anette-G. Ziegler, Director of the Institute of Diabetes Research (IDF) at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, analyzed blood samples from 30 children with autoantibodies who had developed type 1 diabetes either very rapidly or with a very long delay. The researchers compared the data with data on children who displayed neither autoantibodies nor diabetes symptoms. In a second step with samples from another 140 children, the researchers confirmed the protein composition differences that they found in this approach. "Altogether, we were able to identify 41 peptides** from 26 proteins that distinguish children with autoantibodies from those without," reports Dr. Christine von Toerne, a scientist in the Research Unit Protein Science who shared first authorship of the work with Michael Laimighofer, a doctoral candidate in Jan Krumsiek's junior research group at the Institute of Computational Biology. Striking in their evaluations: A large number of these proteins are associated with lipid metabolism. "Two peptides -- from the proteins apolipoprotein M and apolipoprotein C-IV -- were particularly conspicuous and were especially differently expressed in the two groups," von Toerne adds. In autoantibody-positive children, it was furthermore possible to reach a better estimate of the speed of the diabetes development using the peptide concentrations of three proteins (hepatocyte growth factor activator, complement factor H and ceruloplasmin) in combination with the age of the particular child. The researchers are confident that the protein signatures they have discovered will be helpful as biomarkers for future diagnostics. "The progression of type 1 diabetes into a clinical disease takes place over a period of time that varies from individual to individual and that at this time is insufficiently predictable," explains Prof. Ziegler. "The biomarkers that we have identified allow a more precise classification of this presymptomatic stage and they are relatively simple to acquire from blood samples." * The BABYDIAB study, which was established in 1989 as the world's first diabetes prospective birth cohort, is a pioneering study in the field of type 1 diabetes pathogenesis research. More than 1650 children of parents with type 1 diabetes have been observed since their birth, or for a period of 25 years. The objective of the BABYDIAB study is to determine when islet autoantibodies first appear, which genetic factors and environmental factors influence their development, and which characteristics of the autoantibodies are most strongly associated with the development of type 1 diabetes. The participants in the study are reexamined every three years by means of blood samples and questionnaires. The BABYDIET is examining the influence of food containing gluten on the development of type 1 diabetes. Of the 2,441 children included in the two studies, so far 124 have developed a precursor to diabetes. 82 of these meanwhile display a clinical disease (as of November 2014). ** Peptides are molecules that, like proteins, are constructed from amino acids. However, they are smaller and to some extent result as fragments during protein breakdown. The transition is therefore relatively fluid. The study was financed by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), which has headquarters in the USA. The number of new cases of type 1 diabetes each year continues to rise. New immunotherapeutic approaches aim at stopping this development. A precise assessment of the individual stage of disease development is an important criterion for the targeted use of new treatments. The described study shows that children already display proteomic changes in the blood during the presymptomatic stage. This information allows a better assessment of the time until clinical manifestation of the disease. Recently scientists in the Protein Science Research Unit were also able to identify biomarkers for the precursor to type 2 diabetes: https:/ Von Toerne, C. & Laimighofer, M. et al. (2016): Peptide serum markers in islet autoantibody-positive children. Diabetologia, doi: 10.1007/s00125-016-4150-x http://link. The presence of certain proteins in blood samples can predict incipient type 1 diabetes. The researchers identify these in their measurements using so-called peptide peaks (see selection in red). Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München The Helmholtz Zentrum München, the German Research Center for Environmental Health, pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich and has about 2,300 staff members. It is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 18 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 37,000 staff members. http://www. The independent Research Unit Protein Science (PROT) investigates the composition of protein complexes and their integration into cellular processes and protein networks. One focus is the analysis of the interaction of genetic variance and environmental factors in neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases. The aim of this research is to identify biological systems and disease-associated disorders on a systemic level, thus contributing to a molecular understanding of diseases. http://www. The Core Facility Proteomics is an instrumental analysis platform at the Helmholtz Zentrum München. It provides interested research groups with access to comprehensive proteome analyses conducted with highly sensitive mass spectrometers. The portfolio ranges from technical and scientific consultation during project design and sample preparation to the development of optimized analysis methods to actual sample measurement and data evaluation. The Institute of Diabetes Research (IDF) focuses on the pathogenesis and prevention of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes and the long-term effects of gestational diabetes. A major project is the development of an insulin vaccination against type 1 diabetes. The IDF conducts long-term studies to examine the link between genes, environmental factors and the immune system for the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes. Findings of the BABYDIAB study, which was established in 1989 as the world's first prospective birth cohort study, identified risk genes and antibody profiles. These permit predictions to be made about the pathogenesis and onset of type 1 diabetes and will lead to changes in the classification and the time of diagnosis. The IDF is part of the Helmholtz Diabetes Center (HDC). http://www. The German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) is a national association that brings together experts in the field of diabetes research and combines basic research, translational research, epidemiology and clinical applications. The aim is to develop novel strategies for personalized prevention and treatment of diabetes. Members are Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health, the German Diabetes Center in Düsseldorf, the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam-Rehbrücke, the Paul Langerhans Institute Dresden of the Helmholtz Zentrum München at the University Medical Center Carl Gustav Carus of the TU Dresden and the Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases of the Helmholtz Zentrum München at the Eberhard-Karls-University of Tuebingen together with associated partners at the Universities in Heidelberg, Cologne, Leipzig, Lübeck and Munich. https:/


News Article | September 13, 2016
Site: cleantechnica.com

A new study performed by researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München, in collaboration with researchers at the German Center for Diabetes Research, has revealed that common levels of air pollution in homes notably increase the risk of developing insulin resistance as a pre-diabetic state of type 2 diabetes. What this means is that risk is strongly associated not just with “lifestyle” and genetics, but also with the environmental factors that most people have no control over, but which governments have the ability to regulate. Notably, the levels of air pollution observed in the study (in Germany) are well within European Union limits, but above those proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO). “Whether the disease becomes manifest and when this occurs is not only due to lifestyle or genetic factors, but also due to traffic-related air pollution,” commented Professor Annette Peters, director of the Institute of Epidemiology II at Helmholtz Zentrum München and head of the research area of epidemiology of the DZD. The press release continues, noting that, in collaboration with German Diabetes Center Düsseldorf and the German Heart Centre, the researchers “analyzed the data of nearly 3,000 participants of the KORA study who live in the city of Augsburg and two adjacent rural counties. All individuals were interviewed and physically examined. Furthermore, the researchers took fasting blood samples, in which they determined various markers for insulin resistance and inflammation. In addition, leptin was examined as adipokine which has been suggested to be associated with insulin resistance. Non-diabetic individuals underwent an oral glucose tolerance test to detect whether their glucose metabolism was impaired. The researchers compared these data with the concentrations of air pollutants at the place of residence of the participants, which they estimated using predictive models based on repeated measurements at 20 sites (for particle measurements) and at 40 sites (for nitrogen dioxide measurements) in the city and in the rural counties.” “The results revealed that people who already have an impaired glucose metabolism, so-called pre-diabetic individuals, are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution,” stated Dr Kathrin Wolf, lead author of the new study. “In these individuals, the association between increases in their blood marker levels and increases in air pollutant concentrations is particularly significant! Thus, over the long term — especially for people with impaired glucose metabolism — air pollution is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.” With regard to the implications of the findings, researcher Dr Alexandra Schneider, noted: “Lowering the threshold for acceptable air pollution levels would be a prudent step. We are all exposed to air pollution. An individual reduction by moving away from highly polluted areas is rarely an option.” The new findings are detailed in a paper published in the journal Diabetes.   Drive an electric car? Complete one of our short surveys for our next electric car report.   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.  


News Article | September 8, 2016
Site: www.greencarcongress.com

« Civil Maps debuts augmented reality maps for self-driving cars | Main | KLM to operate biofuel flights out of Los Angeles » Exposure to air pollution increases the risk of developing insulin resistance as a pre-diabetic state of type 2 diabetes, according to a new study by scientists of Helmholtz Zentrum München, in collaboration with colleagues of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD). The researchers reported these results in the journal Diabetes. Whether diabetes becomes manifest and when this occurs is not only due to lifestyle or genetic factors, but also due to traffic-related air pollution, said Professor Annette Peters, director of the Institute of Epidemiology II at Helmholtz Zentrum München and head of the research area of epidemiology of the DZD. For the current study, the team analyzed the data of 2,944 participants of the KORA (Cooperative Health Research in the Region Augsburg) F4 study conducted in southern Germany (2006-2008). They analyzed associations between individual air pollution concentration estimated by land use regression and HOMA-IR (homeostasis model assessment-estimated insulin resistance), glucose, insulin, HbA (glycated hemoglobin), leptin, and hs-CRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein) from fasting samples using multivariable linear regression models. Effect estimates were calculated for the whole study population and subgroups of non-diabetic, pre-diabetic and diabetic individuals. Among all participants, a 7.9μg/m3 increment in particulate matter Nitrogen dioxide was associated with HOMA-IR, glucose, insulin, and leptin. Effect estimates for pre-diabetic individuals were much larger and highly statistically significant, while non-diabetic and diabetic individuals showed rather weak associations. No association was seen for HbA . The results revealed that people who already have an impaired glucose metabolism, so-called pre-diabetic individuals, are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution. In these individuals, the association between increases in their blood marker levels and increases in air pollutant concentrations is particularly significant! Thus, over the long term—especially for people with impaired glucose metabolism—air pollution is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. The authors are also concerned that the concentrations of air pollutants, though below EU threshold values, are still above the proposed guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO). As a consequence, they demand changes in government policy. Moreover, the association between increased exposure to air pollution and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases has now been clearly established. Next, the scientists want to investigate the influence of ultrafine particles. A previous study of Helmholtz Zentrum München from 2013 showed that ultrafine particulate air pollution increases the risk of insulin resistance in childhood. In a meta-analysis from 2015 the same authors concluded that there is an association between long-term exposure to air pollutants and the development of type 2 diabetes.


News Article | November 10, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease that has become increasingly prevalent in the population: More than six million people are affected by the disease alone in Germany. It is characterized by a disruption of the glucose metabolism and (except for type 1 diabetes) an impaired response of the body to the hormone insulin. Scientists are currently seeking to find the cause and possible regulators of the disease in order to intervene therapeutically. A team led by the metabolism expert Professor Stephan Herzig, director of the Institute for Diabetes and Cancer at Helmholtz Zentrum München (IDC), has discovered a new mechanism that is responsible for the regulation of the glucose metabolism. The transforming growth factor beta 1-stimulated clone 22 D4, abbreviated TSC22D4, acts as a molecular switch in the liver and from there regulates genes that can influence the metabolism throughout the body. "The current study is a successful continuation of our research activities with colleagues from the Internal Medicine at Heidelberg University Hospital," said study leader Herzig, who left Heidelberg in 2015 to become director of the Institute for Diabetes and Cancer at Helmholtz Zentrum München. Already in 2013 the researchers showed that increased production of TSC22D4 in the liver of mice with cancer leads to severe weight loss (cachexia) . In the present study, they investigated the role of this gene regulator in connection with diabetes. "The strong influence of TSC22D4 on the metabolism in tumor diseases suggested that it could also play a role in metabolic diseases," said first author Dr. Bilgen Ekim Üstünel of the IDC. In the current study, the researchers showed in diabetic mice that inactivation of TSC22D4 led to an improvement of the insulin action and glucose metabolism. Further analyses revealed that TSC22D4 in particular inhibits the production of the lipocalin13 protein, which is released as a messenger substance from the liver and can regulate the glucose metabolism in other organs. To check the relevance of the new mechanism in the clinic, the researchers examined liver tissue specimens of 66 patients with and without type 2 diabetes. They found that in the liver of the diabetes patients compared to people with normal glucose metabolism, the TSC22D4 gene was expressed significantly more often and lipocalin13 was produced correspondingly less often. "For the treatment of diabetes there is only a very limited number of therapeutic targets," said Herzig. "Next, we want to investigate whether our findings can lead to the development of a new therapeutic approach to treat diabetes and insulin resistance." Original Publication: Üstünel, BE. et al. (2016): Control of diabetic hyperglycemia and insulin resistance through TSC22D4. Nature Communications, doi: 10.1038/ncomms13267 The Helmholtz Zentrum München, the German Research Center for Environmental Health, pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich and has about 2,300 staff members. It is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 18 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 37,000 staff members. http://www. The Institute for Diabetes and Cancer (IDC) is a member of the Helmholtz Diabetes Center (HDC) at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and a partner in the joint Heidelberg-IDC Translational Diabetes Program. The Institute for Diabetes and Cancer is tightly integrated into the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) and into the special research area "Reactive Metabolites and Diabetic Complications" at the Heidelberg University Medical School. The IDC conducts research on the molecular basis of severe metabolic disorders, including metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, as well as their roles in tumor initiation and progression. http://www. Technical University of Munich (TUM) is one of Europe's leading research universities, with more than 500 professors, around 10,000 academic and non-academic staff, and 39,000 students. Its focus areas are the engineering sciences, natural sciences, life sciences and medicine, reinforced by schools of management and education. TUM acts as an entrepreneurial university that promotes talents and creates value for society. In that it profits from having strong partners in science and industry. It is represented worldwide with a campus in Singapore as well as offices in Beijing, Brussels, Cairo, Mumbai, San Francisco, and São Paulo. Nobel Prize winners and inventors such as Rudolf Diesel, Carl von Linde, and Rudolf Mößbauer have done research at TUM. In 2006 and 2012 it won recognition as a German "Excellence University." In international rankings, TUM regularly places among the best universities in Germany. http://www. Heidelberg University Hospital is one of the largest and most prestigious medical centers in Germany. The Medical Faculty of Heidelberg University belongs to the internationally most renowned biomedical research institutions in Europe. Both institutions have the common goal of developing new therapies and implementing them rapidly for patients. With about 12,600 employees, training and qualification is an important issue. Every year, around 66,000 patients are treated on an inpatient basis and around 1.000.000 cases on an outpatient basis in more than 50 clinics and departments with 1,900 beds. Currently, about 3,500 future physicians are studying in Heidelberg; the reform Heidelberg Curriculum Medicinale (HeiCuMed) is one of the top medical training programs in Germany. http://www. Universität Leipzig has the second-oldest uninterrupted history of any university in Germany. The Faculty of Medicine is a training centre for some 3,200 students of human and dental medicine. Made up of about 50 institutes, units and clinics it's one of the largest medical faculties anywhere in Germany. It works closely together with both related faculties and other areas of research, providing superb conditions for students, lecturers and researchers alike. http://www. Contact for the media: Department of Communication, Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg - Tel. +49 89 3187 2238 - Fax: +49 89 3187 3324 - E-mail: presse@helmholtz-muenchen.de Scientific Contact at Helmholtz Zentrum München: Prof. Dr. Stephan Herzig, Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health, Institute for Diabetes and Cancer, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg - Tel. +49 89 3187 1045, E-mail: stephan.herzig@helmholtz-muenchen.de


News Article | November 8, 2016
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Certain proteins in the blood of children can predict incipient type 1 diabetes, even before the first symptoms appear. A team of scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, partners in the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), reported these findings in the Diabetologia journal. The work was based on two large studies that are intended to explain the mechanisms behind the development of type 1 diabetes (BABYDIAB and BABYDIET*). The study participants are children who have a first-degree relative with type 1 diabetes and who consequently have an increased risk of developing the disease due to the familial predisposition. This autoimmune process does not develop from one day to the next, however: Often the young patients go through longer asymptomatic preliminary stages that see the formation of the first antibodies against the child's own insulin-producing cells in the pancreas; these are the so-called autoantibodies. Biomarkers that indicate whether and when this is the case and how quickly the clinical symptoms will appear could significantly improve the treatment of patients at-risk. A team of scientists, led by Dr. Stefanie Hauck, head of the Research Unit Protein Science and the Core Facility Proteomics, and Prof. Dr. Anette-G. Ziegler, Director of the Institute of Diabetes Research (IDF) at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, analyzed blood samples from 30 children with autoantibodies who had developed type 1 diabetes either very rapidly or with a very long delay. The researchers compared the data with data on children who displayed neither autoantibodies nor diabetes symptoms. In a second step with samples from another 140 children, the researchers confirmed the protein composition differences that they found in this approach. "Altogether, we were able to identify 41 peptides from 26 proteins that distinguish children with autoantibodies from those without," reports Dr. Christine von Toerne, a scientist in the Research Unit Protein Science who shared first authorship of the work with Michael Laimighofer, a doctoral candidate in Jan Krumsiek's junior research group at the Institute of Computational Biology. Striking in their evaluations: A large number of these proteins are associated with lipid metabolism. "Two peptides -- from the proteins apolipoprotein M and apolipoprotein C-IV -- were particularly conspicuous and were especially differently expressed in the two groups," von Toerne adds. In autoantibody-positive children, it was furthermore possible to reach a better estimate of the speed of the diabetes development using the peptide concentrations of three proteins (hepatocyte growth factor activator, complement factor H and ceruloplasmin) in combination with the age of the particular child. The researchers are confident that the protein signatures they have discovered will be helpful as biomarkers for future diagnostics. "The progression of type 1 diabetes into a clinical disease takes place over a period of time that varies from individual to individual and that at this time is insufficiently predictable," explains Prof. Ziegler. "The biomarkers that we have identified allow a more precise classification of this presymptomatic stage and they are relatively simple to acquire from blood samples."


News Article | December 27, 2016
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

High body mass index, or BMI, changes the way DNA is expressed. Nearly 200 loci of the genome are affected by obesity and weight stressors – through the process of DNA methylation, a German team reports in the journal Nature. The group of nearly 10,000 people from Europe included a large portion of Londoners who were of Indian descent, according to the study. That ethnic population has a particularly high risk for obesity and metabolic conditions, according to the authors, from the Helmholtz Zentrum München, and the German Center for Diabetes Research. More than 5,000 of the blood samples indicated a key 207 loci which were epigenetically altered over time by weight gain. The samples of nearly another 5,000 confirmed 187 of those loci’s roles in the changed DNA methylation processes (the process by which environmental factors change the function of genetic expression). The scientists said the results could find a way to predicting or preventing diabetes, or otherwise understanding the health effects of obesity. “In particular, significant changes were found in the expression of genes responsible for lipid metabolism and substrate transport, but inflammation-related gene loci were also affected,” said Harald Grallert, the leader of the research group. The Helmholtz Zentrum München has published a growing number of epigenetics studies recently. Earlier this year, they showed that obesity and diabetes can be passed on to offspring through sperm and oocyte cells. Other teams have demonstrated that obesity can affect the genetic inheritance in species other than humans in previous studies over a number of years. Some of these involved brain function in rodents, due to altered gene expression in gray matter. But epigenetics is not just about physical stature. Another study by an American team found that emotional trauma such as that of survivors of genocide can actually affect the genetic information passed to offspring, as well.

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