Xenobiotic-sensing nuclear receptors in metabolic diseases

Research group information

Contact information

Research group leader

Research group description

Diabetes and metabolic syndrome are among the most significant health problems of the future. Xenobiotic-sensing nuclear receptors are recently identified, novel regulators of metabolic functions and may mediate adverse metabolic effects of clinically used pharmaceuticals and environmental chemical contaminants.

Human body is in constant interaction with and under influence of chemical environment. Xenobiotic-sensing nuclear receptors are molecular sensors specialized in detection of the chemical and nutrition exposure and adjust cellular functions to cope with the changing environment. While these xenosensors were originally recognized to regulate detoxification functions against foreign compounds, more recent results by us and others have shown that they are essential regulators of hepatic glucose and lipid metabolism in liver and may play an important role in development of diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

With translational approach, our group utilizes wide range of methods from basic molecular biology to clinical studies and works in the Research units of Biomedicine (Pharmacology and Toxicology) and Internal medicine.

Our team

Where are we headed

We aim to identify and characterize mechanisms controlling energy metabolism by the xenobiotic-sensing nuclear receptors and the key binding partners in order to understand the significance of this newly discovered disease mechanism, to identify novel targets for drug development in metabolic syndrome, to improve safety of the current drug therapy, and to provide essential information for the needs of environmental health protection. Together with collaborators, we also aim to investigate the consequences of nuclear receptor activation in epidemiologic studies.

Our main collaborators

  • Professor Janne Hukkanen, University of Oulu
  • Docent Jaana Rysä, University of Eastern Finland
  • Professor Petr Pavek, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
  • Docent Ari Tolonen and Dr. Sanna-Mari Aatsinki, Admescope Ltd
  • Professor Markku Savolainen, University of Oulu
  • Docent Anna-Liisa Levonen, University of Eastern Finland
  • Professor Matti Lang, University Queensland, Australia
  • Professor Sirkka Keinänen-Kiukaanniemi, University of Oulu
  • Professor Mika Ala-Korpela, University of Oulu, University of Bristol
  • MD, PhD Käräjämäki Aki, Vaasa Central Hospital, Vaasa, Finland

How to find us