Which are the epigenomic mechanisms behind metabolic disease inflammation?
Obesity, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, atherosclerosis, and certain cancers are metabolically driven inflammatory diseases. Common for all of them is a disease-associated state of chronic, low-grade inflammation called metaflammation.
Epigenomics is the study of functional elements and components that regulate gene expression in a cell. Eckardt Treuter is an epigenomics expert. His focus is to better understand epigenomic mechanisms that underlie this metaflammation in metabolic diseases.
“In the long term, our research may contribute to identifying alternative strategies for treating or preventing metabolic-inflammatory diseases, for example, via pharmaceuticals or nutritional interventions.”
Epigenome alterations linked to gene expression are fundamental reprogramming processes that are suspected to be associated with these diseases. Research in the Treuter laboratory addresses these issues – with emphasis on coregulators. His team recently identified a possible key role of a fundamental, transcriptional, corepressor complex in metaflammation, the function of which appears to be compromised in humans who are obese and/or have type 2 diabetes. A current hypothesis is that inappropriate complex function triggers epigenomic reprogramming and thus enhances susceptibility to metabolic-inflammatory disturbances that trigger disease.
“CIMED support allows us to broaden our research focus by testing the hypothesis in a variety of metabolic disease models.”
As a basic scientist interested in dissecting molecular mechanisms, Treuter believes that CIMED substantially stimulates research into mechanisms the underlie disease and critical components, which are involved: “CIMED funding and interactions with CIMED researchers and clinicians allow us to re-phrase key questions (e.g., what goes wrong in disease and how does it work?). These partnerships increase our awareness of clinical questions and challenges at the interdisciplinary junction between epigenomics and metabolic disease.”
Treuter is a professor of molecular cell biology at the Karolinska Institutet. He obtained his PhD in biochemistry at the Martin Luther University Halle (Germany) and joined Karolinska Institutet in 1994 by starting a postdoctoral project that identified, among other things, the corepressor complex that the team studies today within the metaflammation context.
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