Scientists share research updates on insulin found in the brainBy Arline Phillips-Han • Published: January 6th, 1987
The discovery of insulin production and insulin action in the brain, reported in late 1985 by University of Florida medical scientists, is now the focal point for a UF symposium at which 16 world leaders in diabetes research will share research findings.
The possible effects of brain insulin and insulin-like peptides on the growth and function of the brain will be discussed by the speakers from 11 major research centers, including the UF Health Science Center.
UF physiologist Mohan Raizada, Ph.D., whose research in rats brought evidence that insulin is present in the brain and acts on its function, is coordinating the national conference Jan. 19 and 20 in the dental building at the Health Science Center.
“We’ve invited scientists who represent the ‘who’s who’ list in this new area of research,” says Raizada, who notes each speaker has contributed new insights into insulin production, structure and function.
One entire session will feature discussions by the visiting scientists, including Dr. Steen Gammeltoft of Copenhagen, on the role of insulin-like peptides and their receptors in brain function and development. Dr. Jesse Roth, director of the diabetes research program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will discuss his observation of insulin-related receptors (macro-molecules on the target cells to which insulin binds) in specific sites within the brains of rats and chick embryos. Roth was among the first scientists to discover the presence of insulin and insulin receptors in the brain.
Dr. Ronald Kahn of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston also is expected to discuss his recent observations regarding the function of insulin receptors and their role in diabetes. Structural differences in the insulin receptors in the brain, as compared with insulin receptors elsewhere in the body, also will be described by Dr. Kim Heidenreich of the University of California at San Diego.
Sharing insights into how insulin is synthesized and released from nerve cells in the brain will be UF pediatric endocrinologist Derrel Clarke, whose continuing research is supported by the American Diabetes Association. Dr. Raizada will follow with a presentation on the physiological differences he has discovered regarding insulin action in the brain.
Other eminent diabetes researchers on the program include Daniel Lane, Johns Hopkins University; Barry Posner, McGill University; Michael Czech, University of Massachusetts Medical School; Samuel Cushman and Derek Le Roith of NIH; Edwin Krebs, University of Washington; Robert Fellows, University of Iowa; and Laurance Mendelsohn, Lilly Research Laboratory. Moderating the conference sessions will be UF diabetes researchers Noel Maclaren, professor of pediatrics and pathology; and Susan Frost, assistant professor of biochemistry, along with Robert Farese, University of South Florida.
Major support for the symposium comes from the Kroc Foundation, with co-sponsorships from Miles Pharmaceuticals and the UF College of Medicine’s departments of biochemistry, neuroscience, pathology, pediatrics, physiology, pharmacology and therapeutics.