Xenobiotic-sensing networks and digital support systems in metabolic diseases

Research group information

Contact information

Research group leader

Research group description

Current research of group Hukkanen centers on two topics: the metabolic actions of xenobiotic-sensing nuclear receptor PXR (pregnane X receptor), and the development of digital health behavior change support systems (HBCSS) for subjects with overweight, obesity and metabolic syndrome. His group has shown that the activation of PXR leads to postprandial hyperglycemia as well as hypertension and dyslipidemia in healthy volunteers. Mobile “Onnikka” HBCSS is one of the only digital platforms with clinical evidence for long-term weight control in people living with overweight and obesity.

Our team

Where are we headed

The aims are to show with a translational approach combining epidemiological, clinical, and preclinical research that PXR links the chemical environment and metabolic disturbances. PXR regulates 4β-hydroxycholesterol, an agonist for liver X receptor (LXR). The future goal is to establish the role of PXR – 4βHC – LXR network in the regulation of overweight and obesity-induced hypertension as well as metabolic syndrome. The group is also a partner in an EU Horizon 2020 project CoroPrevention aiming to develop interventions to improve the prognosis of coronary heart disease.

Our main collaborators

  • Professor Jukka Hakkola, University of Oulu
  • Professor Harri Oinas-Kukkonen, University of Oulu
  • Research Director, Prof. Reijo Laaksonen, University of Tampere
  • Professor Paul Dendale, Heart Centre Hasselt, Belgium
  • Professor Jaana Rysä, University of Eastern Finland
  • Professor Mika Ala-Korpela, University of Oulu, University of Bristol
  • Professor Sohvi Hörkkö, University of Oulu, SYNLAB Finland
  • Docent Vesa Koivukangas, Oulu University Hospital
  • Docent Ari Tolonen, Admescope Ltd
  • Serial entrepreneur Teppo Virkkula, Onnikka Health Oy, Finland
  • MD, PhD Käräjämäki Aki, Vaasa Central Hospital, Finland

How to find us