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Islet Cell Physiology

Department of Clinical Sciences, Malmö

Head: Albert Salehi

Goup members

Albert Salehi, PI

The islet cell physiology is headed by Associate Professor Albert Salehi. Coworkers including in his group are PhD-students. Post-docs, laboratory technicians and affiliate visiting researchers from collaborating countries.

Introduction

The aetiology of type 2 diabetes (T2D) is complex and it seems to involve the interaction between both genetic and environmental factors (also including nutritional and metabolic signals).  Despite the increasing knowledge of T2D, treatment or prevention of the disease is still not satisfactory, as no T2D drug available on the market has been able to prevent the progressive nature of the disease and thereby reduce the economic burden of diabetes on society.

Goals

G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are of extreme pharmacological importance and potential targets for new therapeutic agents in the treatment of a number of human diseases including T2D. We have identified numerous orphan GPCRs in human pancreatic islets, abdominal fat tissue and liver cells where we will functionally characterize novel GPCRs, secreted proteins and small molecules that regulate beta-cell proliferation, survival and functionality, where we also evaluate their suitability as novel drug targets for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. We hope that these proof-of-concept studies will initiate the development of novel classes of anti-diabetic drugs that may either complement or replace existing diabetes medications.

Impact

Since the functional role of the majority of all pancreatic islet GPCRs is not stablished, we believe that there is a great potential to discover both the possible physiological role of these GPCRs in islet function to further find a novel pancreatic islet specific drug targets lacking influence on the other tissues.

Tangible results

We are in the process of publishing our GPCR data which will be an evolutionary tool designed to build up a platform to be used by all researchers in Sweden and other countries.