Project description

Role of Interleukin (6)-Signaling in Obesity-Associated Atherosclerosis

Obesity represents a major risk factor not only for the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus, but also for atherosclerosis. More recently, increased weight gain has been associated with a state of chronic pro-inflammatory tone due to lymphocyte and macrophage infiltration into white adipose tissue (WAT) and subsequent release of inflammatory cytokines such as TNF and IL-6. While TNF has been characterized as a critical regulator of glucose homeostasis and atherosclerosis in this setting, the role of Il-6 in the development of obesity-associated atherosclerosis remains ill defined. We have recently defined critical roles for IL-6 in the regulation of T-lymphocyte function as well as macrophage polarization with respect to the manifestation of innate and adaptive immune responses. Thus, the aim of the current proposal is to define the role of T-cell- and macrophage-intrinsic IL-6-signalling in the development of obesity-associated metabolic disorders and atherosclerosis.


Jens Brüning’s profile

Jens Brüning is Professor of Genetics at the Institute for Genetics, where he heads the Department of Mouse Genetics and Metabolism since 2003. At the same time, he is Director of the Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Preventive Medicine, University Hospital Cologne and, since 2011, Director of the Max Planck-Institute for Neurological Research in Cologne. He is Coordinator of the Cologne Excellence Cluster “Cellular stress responses in aging-associated diseases (CECAD)” at the University of Cologne. He received his education at the Medical School, University Hospital of Cologne and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School, in the laboratory of Professor C. Ronald Kahn. Prof. Brüning is the recipient of several awards, among them the Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award of the American Diabetes Association, the Ernst Jung-Award for Medicine, the Minkowski Prize of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz-Award of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Lesser-Loewe-Award, the Wilhelm-Vaillant-Award, the Ferdinand-Bertram-Award of the German Diabetes-Society, and the Ernst and Berta Scharrer Award of the German Society of Endocrinology.


Research Interests

The research fields of Prof. Brüning include the study of central and peripheral regulation of energy homeostasis using modern mouse genetics, the generation and characterization of mouse models of insulin resistance in obesity, diabetes mellitus, inflammation and atherosclerosis and of mouse models of aging-related diseases. The Brüning lab has access to the most advanced technology for metabolic characterization of mice, including equipment for behavior tests, phenomaster, NMR analyzer, and a mouse CT. In addition, euglycemic, hyperinsulinemic clamps in mice for complete in vivo profiling of glucose metabolism in mice is provided.