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Funded Research

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    • 2015
      Pump Priming

      The role of the transcriptional repressor CITED2 in endothelial cells as a mediator of impaired angiogenesis in insulin resistant conditions

      Recipient:
      Mr Sam Lockhart
      Institution:
      Queen’s University Belfast
      City:
      Belfast
      Amount:
      £20,000
      Description: People with diabetes have impaired formation of new blood vessels in the heart, legs, and other parts of the body. This is an important reason for some complications of diabetes. We have found that i...
      Description: People with diabetes have impaired formation of new blood vessels in the heart, legs, and other parts of the body. This is an important reason for some complications of diabetes. We have found that insulin can suppress a protein called CITED2 that has a role in limiting blood vessel growth. Therefore, increased levels of CITED2 may suppress blood vessel growth in people with type 2 diabetes in whom insulin has lost its normal effect (a condition called insulin resistance). The research proposed here aims to determine how the CITED2 gene is regulated by insulin. Furthermore, we plan to use mice with poor blood vessel formation due to insulin resistance. We want to show that we can improve blood vessel growth in these mice if we remove the CITED2 gene in vascular cells. Results from this research may indicate that CITED2 could be a future drug target for preventing diabetes complications.
    • 2014
      Pump Priming

      DECS, Diabetic Eye disease in Children Study: incidence, detection/presentation, clinical characteristics and putcomes of diabetic eye disease in childhood in the UK

      Recipient:
      Professor Jugnoo Rahi
      Institution:
      UCL Institute of Child Health
      City:
      London
      Amount:
      £19,978
      Description: Despite the recent and on-going increase in the frequency of childhood diabetes, little is known about childhood diabetic eye disease, particularly how common it is in the UK, how it develops, and its...
      Description: Despite the recent and on-going increase in the frequency of childhood diabetes, little is known about childhood diabetic eye disease, particularly how common it is in the UK, how it develops, and its consequences for future vision. We propose to address this paucity of information in order to help plan the services and treatments children need to prevent visual loss and improve overall disease management. This study will provide currently unavailable data which cannot be accessed from existing routine sources. We plan a national incidence study of childhood diabetic eye disease (retinopathy / cataract) and diabetes-related visual disability, investigating variations (eg by age, gender, ethnicity), clinical characteristics, patterns of detection and short term outcomes. The cohort established by the proposed study will also enable future longer term studies of outcomes. ‘Cases’ will be ascertained through active surveillance by ophthalmologists reporting to the long-established British Ophthalmic Surveillance Unit, which has facilitated all the key recent national studies of childhood eye disorders, including studies carried out by our team (referenced below). As with our prior studies, we will establish at the outset a clinical research network comprising ophthalmologists who manage children with diabetes, as the forum for implementing the study and for translating findings into practice to directly impact on care.
    • 2014
      Pump Priming

      Does low vitamin D cause adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance?

      Recipient:
      Professor John Wilding
      Institution:
      University of Liverpool
      City:
      Liverpool
      Amount:
      £20,000
      Description: Vitamin D is an important hormone which performs a number of vital functions in the body, and lack of it for a period can cause a variety of health problems, many of which relate to bone damage. Howev...
      Description: Vitamin D is an important hormone which performs a number of vital functions in the body, and lack of it for a period can cause a variety of health problems, many of which relate to bone damage. However, it is common for obese individuals to have a low level of vitamin D in their blood. Research work suggests that low blood levels of vitamin D might make individuals more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, a condition in which the body’s cells become less responsive to insulin, the hormone which tells these cells to take sugar out of the blood for storage. This is why people with untreated diabetes can have dangerously high levels of sugar in their blood. Obese individuals tend to have bigger fat cells. These bigger fat cells are less responsive to insulin than normal sized cells, and also release ‘messengers’ that cause inflammation. This inflammation also makes it more difficult for insulin to work properly. We have done some research in this area already and our work has shown that vitamin D may reduce this inflammation in fat, which could ultimately make the body more sensitive to insulin, thus reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. We also want to know if obese people have high levels in their bodies of a substance which might block vitamin D from reducing this inflammation. In this study, we shall take samples of fat from the abdomens of people who are having planned abdominal surgery, and use these fat biopsies to measure how much inflammation there is. We would also measure vitamin D levels in their blood and perform a number of non-invasive tests to determine the total body fat mass and where that fat is being stored. We would then analyse these results and be in a better position to say whether people with low vitamin D levels have more inflammation in their fat and therefore don’t respond to insulin as they should.
    • 2014
      Pump Priming

      Influence of n-3FA intake on high-fat diet induced changes in anabolic signalling in healthy adults

      Recipient:
      Dr Oliver Witard
      Institution:
      University of Stirling
      City:
      Stirling
      Amount:
      £5,160
      Description: High calorie-high fat ‘westernized’ diets that lead to obesity may lead to impairments in the ability of our muscles to grow in response to nutrients. In this research project, first we plan to invest...
      Description: High calorie-high fat ‘westernized’ diets that lead to obesity may lead to impairments in the ability of our muscles to grow in response to nutrients. In this research project, first we plan to investigate the potential adverse effect that a high calorie-high fat diet may have on preserving normal quantities of muscle mass. We hypothesize that a high calorie-high fat diet will impair the capability of signalling proteins within skeletal muscle that control muscle growth to respond to nutrient provision. Therefore, we anticipate the capacity to maintain normal quantities of muscle mass will be reduced by a high calorie-high fat diet. Part 2 of this research project investigates the effectiveness of fish oil as an intervention to maintain muscle mass during high calorie-high fat dieting. By feeding fish oil, thereby increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids, we aimed to investigate the capacity for fish oil to maintain muscle mass during high calorie-high fat dieting. We hypothesize that feeding fish oils during high calorie-high fat dieting will help maintain the capability of signalling proteins within skeletal muscle that control muscle growth to respond to nutrient provision.
    • 2014
      Pump Priming

      Investigating inflammatory changes in human diabetic bladder dysfunction

      Recipient:
      Dr Andy Grant
      Institution:
      King’s College London
      City:
      London
      Amount:
      £17,360
      Description: Many people with diabetes are affected by some form of bladder dysfunction, where the bladder muscle becomes overactive and can cause urinary urgency (a sudden and intense urge to use the toilet), noc...
      Description: Many people with diabetes are affected by some form of bladder dysfunction, where the bladder muscle becomes overactive and can cause urinary urgency (a sudden and intense urge to use the toilet), nocturia (waking from sleep to urinate multiple times in a night) and urinary incontinence (leakage of urine). Together, these symptoms can dramatically reduce quality of life. Recent studies in patients with overactive bladder muscles (which can also occur without the presence of diabetes) and animal models of diabetic bladder dysfunction have identified altered levels of cytokines in urine and bladder tissue samples. These are a group of chemicals with important roles in regulating the immune system, which can also affect the behaviour of other organs, so they may cause the changes in bladder muscle activity. In this study we plan to collect samples of bladder tissue from patients with normal bladders and from patients with diabetes, in both cases with or without overactive bladders. By quantifying the amounts of cytokines in these tissue samples and comparing them to measurements of bladder function, we hope to further our understanding of the changes that occur in the bladder to cause the debilitating symptoms of diabetic bladder dysfunction.

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