BOSTONHeart disease has been the number one killer in the U.S. for several decades. Diabetes is now the seventh most common cause of death here. Obesity is a risk factor for both conditions and estimates now show that nearly 70 percent of obese, type-2 diabetics will die of cardiovascular disease.
While this much is known, exactly how obesity and diabetes affect the heart still remains largely a mystery. Johnathan D. Tune, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Cellular and Integrative Physiology at Indiana University School of Medicine, is working to find an explanation for these connections. His work, examining these conditions in living pigs, isolated blood vessels, and cells alike, is revealing targets that could eventually be used to treat heart disease or slow its progression, perhaps eventually knocking it from the top cause of death.
For this novel research, the American Physiological Society has recognized the importance of Dr. Tune's work by awarding him the Henry Pickering Bowditch Lecture Award. The award is one of the highest offered by the society and is given to scientists younger than 42 years of age whose accomplishments are original and outstanding.
When Pigs Run:
As a Ph.D. student at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Forth Worth, Dr. Tune's research focused on how to protect the heart from ischemic damagethe injury that takes place when the heart's cells are deprived of oxygen and results in a heart attack. He and his colleagues found that forcing the heart to use glucose as a primary fuel was able to protect the heart against this damage. Later, when he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington School of Medicine, he studied how the heart regulates blood flowsignals that it needs more or less oxygen.
Now, at Indiana University School of Medicine, Dr. Tune combines these interests to study how obesity and diabetes affect blood flow to the heart.
|Contact: Donna Krupa|
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology