The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville

Trauma, Inflammation, and Diabetes Research Laboratory

Under the Directorship of Michael Karlstad, PhD, the Trauma, Inflammation, and Diabetes Research Laboratory (TIDRL) is dedicated to the study of Sepsis and Burn Injury, Wound Healing, Nutritional Modulation of the Inflammatory Response, Insulin Resistance in Injury, Trauma, Pancreatic Islet Cell Biology, Islet Transplantation, Type I and II Diabetes. The TIDRL has devoted a large proportion of its attention to understanding the inflammation-associated changes that affect pancreatic islets with the overarching objective to discover novel therapeutic strategies that could treat or prevent the initiation and progression of type I and II diabetes.  The TIDRL uses a variety of techniques and approaches to understand how inflammatory stimuli lead to a functional loss of pancreatic islet β-cell mass and function in diabetes.  The Lab is also working to create new insights into the complex biology of wound healing in normal and diseased states, including obesity, diabetes, and sleep disorders.  Chronic wounds are difficult to treat, generally take long to heal and come at a high cost to patients and healthcare providers.  A new major focus is pancreatic islet transplantation.  Pancreatic islet transplantation is an attractive treatment for patients with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D).  T1D results from autoimmune-mediated destruction of the insulin-producing β-cells within the pancreatic islets. It is well known that inflammatory events, infiltrating leukocytes, and destruction of pancreatic islet β-cells are key contributors of disease onset in T1D. 

Complications associated with obesity, insulin resistance, and poorly managed diabetes are a major cause of increased morbidity and mortality in the United States as well as in East Tennessee.  Tennessee has the 5th highest rate of obesity and diabetes in the US, and mortality rates for diabetes and associated diseases are ~ 29% to 42%. This project has expanded the capabilities of our inflammation and diabetes research program by developing a model of pancreatic islet transplantation.

The TRDIL has investigated various therapeutic modalities to improve wound healing in diabetes by activation of gene expression important for wound healing in both noninfected and infected wounds.  They are also interested in the role of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids on the nutritional modification of the inflammatory response in sepsis and acute lung injury. 


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