Diabetes is a complex syndrome resulting from derangement of carbohydrate metabolism that is caused by either a relative or absolute deficiency in insulin. The complexity of this disease reflects the enormous variability in biochemical and clinical alterations that occur when blood glucose concentrations are excessively elevated. The medical complications of long-standing diabetes are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. This includes occlusive cardiovascular disease (atherosclerotic heart disease, ischemic stroke, and peripheral vascular disease leading to gangrene/amputation), neuropathy, retinopathy (blindness), nephropathy (renal failure), and infections.
Research efforts in this department target improved understanding of glucose-dependent alterations in vascular endothelial cell and white blood cell (neutrophil) function. Thus, cultured human endothelial cells are used to examine the effects of glucose on gene expression and intracellular signaling. And, neutrophils from the blood of diabetic subjects are isolated for investigations of glucose-dependent dysfunction of G-protein coupled receptors.