In our Section, laboratory experiments can be translated into effective clinical studies in order to understand the functional challenges of obesity and diabetes, and to provide new principles for improved therapy of these conditions.
We attempt to map the elements of endocrine regulation of metabolism and study them in depth. We study the biology and physiology of each of the relevant hormones, transmitters and regulatory agents, and constantly develop new methods, mostly based on immunological approaches, but also employing mass spectrometry. We are also using single cell approaches as well as isolated perfused organs, and in vivo studies in suitable animals (pigs, rats and transgenic mice) but above all human studies.
Major research goals are centered around the hormones Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1), which was discovered in our laboratory and has been studied extensively by the Section (analogues are now available for diabetes therapy, and are currently being evaluated for obesity treatment); Glucagon-like peptide-2, a regulator of intestinal growth and function as well as bone metabolism (also discovered in our lab, and recently approved for treatment of short-bowel syndrome); Glucose dependent Insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), a regulator of insulin secretion and fat deposition; PYY (a powerful inhibitor of food intake); neurotensin (another appetite suppressant); and glucagon.
Other major goals are elucidation of the beneficial effects of gastric bypass surgery on both diabetes and obesity, and understanding the mechanisms at the organ, cellular and molecular level that cause exaggerated secretion of the gut hormones after bypass surgery with a view to reproduce this in future therapeutic strategies.