Identification of new genes regulating muscle insulin sensitivity

Department of Experimental Diabetology, Junior Research Group Genetics of Obesity at DIfE

Dr. Heike Vogel

Doctoral student
Jasmin Gaugel

A hallmark of the metabolic syndrome is abnormal glucose metabolism. The underlying key metabolic defect is insulin resistance, which can be caused by ectopic fat storage mainly in skeletal muscle and liver. Skeletal muscle is the major site of oxidative glucose and lipid metabolism, and dysregulation of either of these metabolic pathways can contribute to the development of metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular complications. Obesity is both an acquired (poor lifestyle habits) and an inherited disorder. Candidate gene approaches as well as genome-wide association studies have identified several loci that associate with obesity as well as insulin resistance. However, most of these studies focus on changes in adipose tissue and liver metabolism, whereas much less is known about genes involved in an impaired skeletal muscle metabolism under obese conditions. The purpose of this project is to gain insight into gene expression changes in muscle tissue under obese and diabetic conditions, which further allows the identification of novel target genes regulating skeletal muscle metabolism.