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dr elif oralDr. Rodica Pop-Busui

Pop-Busui receives grant to study effects of wide blood sugar fluctuations on the heart in type 1 diabetes

ANN ARBOR, June 2010 — Rodica Pop-Busui, MD, PhD, has been awarded a prestigious $2.3 million R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study and identify minimally invasive and sensitive biomarkers that characterize the earliest deficits of heart function in type 1 diabetes. The hoped-for outcome of this research is to be able to predict the progression of these heart problems, so that more effective therapies can be developed.

Using a comprehensive approach that will integrate state-of-the-art imaging and molecular techniques, continuous glucose monitoring, and sophisticated mathematical modeling, Pop-Busui will work with a team of University of Michigan investigators from Radiology, Cardiology, Nephrology, School of Public Health and the Center for Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics during the five-year grant. The team will study the earliest changes in cardiac metabolism and function and the role of acute blood glucose fluctuations, sympathetic activation, and oxidative stress on their development in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

The blood glucose data will be captured with new-generation continuous glucose monitoring sensors, which are inserted under the skin and worn by patients for several days at various time intervals. Dr. Pop-Busui, who does not have diabetes, wore a continuous glucose monitor for one week while planning the project, in order to understand what her study subjects would experience.

Cutting-edge technologies will be used to detect minute changes in the cardiac function of patients. Positron emission tomography, or PET scans, using specific tracers developed by the University of Michigan Division of Nuclear Medicine, will be used to study the heart’s oxidative metabolism and sympathetic function, and novel cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques called “ myocardial tagging,” which offer three-dimensional studies of the left ventricle contraction, will be employed to identify subclinical abnormalities of heart  function and myocardial remodeling in subjects with T1DM. Blood samples and skin biopsies will provide information on oxidative stress and downstream effects.

The results of the proposed study will help in the understanding of the mechanisms and natural history of myocardial (heart) contractile dysfunction and enhanced cardiovascular risk in patients with T1DM in the absence of significant coronary artery disease. These studies also seek to characterize minimally invasive and sensitive biomarkers that may predict the development and progression of myocardial dysfunction in T1DM and validate the hypothesis that wide glucose fluctuations add to cardiovascular risk.

Clinicians wishing to refer patients to the study or who would like more information may contact Dr. Pop-Busui at 734-763-3056 or rpbusui@med.umich.edu.