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January 2009 - March 2010

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Medical School
Department of Pediatrics

PI: Michael Mauer
Co-PI: Youngki Kim

Microarray Studies of Skin Fibroblasts in Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is the leading cause of kidney failure and was responsible for 44% of all the new cases of kidney failure in the United States in 2001. These researchers are studying cultured skin fibroblast (SF) and renal proximal tubular epithelial cells (PTEC) from type 1 diabetic patients in order to better understand the differences in behavior of these in patients with and without DN. They are testing the hypothesis that there are inherent cellular differences between type 1 diabetic patients with or without DN and that these differences are genetically determined and are associated with altered SF and/or PTEC gene expression.

There is accumulating evidence that genetic factors, not associated with the risk of type 1 diabetes per se, convey risk or protection from DN. The evidence is originally derived from observation of familial clustering of DN risk. Type 1 diabetic siblings of DN patients have a five-fold higher prevalence of DN than do type 1 siblings of patients without DN. But the genes that may be involved in the pathogenesis of DN are unknown.

This group’s goal is to use microarray techniques to test for gene expression differences in total RNA isolated from SF and PTEC from type 1 diabetic patients that have been structurally and functionally polarized into two groups: one a "fast-track” group (high risk of DN) and one a "slow-track” group (low risk of DN).

Group Members

Jhuma Saha, Research Associate
Paul Walker, Research Associate