If left untreated, diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease, renal disease, stroke, and cognitive decline. All are serious problems related to microvascular dysfunction, a condition that causes the small blood vessels to work poorly, reducing blood flow to the heart, brain, and other parts of the body.
With the support of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine’s Alliance Research Initiative, the Alliance for Reduction of Diabetes Associated Microvascular Dysfunction (ADAM) will work to integrate research efforts to uncover how microvascular dysfunction develops. The team’s goal is to advance the discovery of new treatments of disorders – including type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cognitive decline – involving this condition.
ADAM is led by Florin Despa, PhD, professor, department of pharmacology and nutritional sciences, who focuses on the role of microvascular dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease, and Larry Goldstein, MD, chair, department of neurology, an expert on stroke and cerebrovascular disorders.
ADAM’s team is already at work on a critical clinical study. One of the effects of microvascular dysfunction in type-2 diabetes is a painful condition called peripheral neuropathy, damage to the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. Patients can experience pain, a pins-and-needles sensation, numbness, and weakness, usually in the hands and feet. ADAM members are conducting research on patients to determine if the level of amylin, a hormone that aids in digestion, is related to the severity of this condition.
Study participants have a small amount of skin scraped from their forearm and a blood sample collected before undergoing a series of sensation tests in the arms and hands. The results may identify a correlation between the amount of amylin present in the blood and skin of the forearm and the extent of the peripheral neuropathy. If so, researchers will have gained an important insight into possible treatments for the condition.
Research Priority Area
- Diabetes and Obesity
- Ahmed Abdel-Latif, PhD, Associate Professor – Department of Internal Medicine
- Florin Despa, PhD, Professor – Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
- Sanda Despa, PhD, Associate Professor – Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
- Justin Fraser, MD, Associate Professor – Department of Neurosurgery
- Larry Goldstein, MD, Chair and Professor – Department of Neurology
- Louis Hersh, PhD, Professor – Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry
- Paul Murphy, PhD, Associate Professor – Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry
- Nada Porter, PhD, Chair, Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
- Vlad Radulescu, MD, Associate Professor – Department of Pediatrics
- Aurelia Radulescu, MD, Associate Professor – Department of Pediatrics
- Susan Smyth, MD, PhD, Division Chief – Department of Internal Medicine
- Nirmal Verma, PhD, Assistant Professor – Department of Pharmacology