Is Glycogen Accumulation Key to Diabetes and Kidney Damage? Dr. Mitchell Sullivan Investigates


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Sep 19 2020 32 mins   9

Without glycogen, we couldn't go very far. Dr. Sullivan is a specialist in the glycogen molecule, which stores glucose, our energy source. In this podcast, he describes exciting discoveries and future research centered on glycogen presence that might help explain the connection between diabetes and kidney disease.

Listen and hear answers to these questions and more:

Mitchell Sullivan is pursuing a postdoc at the University of Queensland in a group that investigates glycation, diabetes, and how diabetic bodily systems handle extra glucose.

Dr. Sullivan in particular follows glycogen formation in the organs. He's just setting out on a new study connecting diabetes and kidney health by focusing on glycogen presence in the kidneys of diabetics. Normally, glycogen is in the liver and muscle tissue, waiting to supply us with different kinds of energy needs. But microscopy shows glycogen in the kidneys of diabetic patients that likely leads to damage and inflammation. The findings may lead to better therapeutics and prevention measures, from a more effective diabetes and kidney disease diet to medical interventions.

Listeners will have the privilege of hearing straight from Dr. Mitchell the hypothesis for this study that's just begun. He explains with clarity why the structure of this glycogen in diabetic kidneys differs from its normal form and is significantly insoluble in this form.

Furthermore, it sticks together in clumps of starch-like granules in the thick ascending limb of the nephron. He's investigating if these cells that aren't accustomated to glycogen become overwhelmed and the glycogen gets stuck, leading to damage and inflammation that make for one of the common kidney failure causes.

What's most interesting is that his PhD work on glycogen in the liver and muscle tissue of diabetics makes this hypothesis seem more likely. Listen in to hear why that's the case and more about this study that might bring scientists that much closer to improving diabetes and kidney health.

To find out more about Dr. Mitchell's work, search his name in research aggregates, see his information page with Queensland University, and feel free to email him: [email protected].

Available on Apple Podcasts: apple.co/2Os0myK