Professor A. Naren Receives $1,217,250 for Diarrheal Diseases Research

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Anjaparavanda Naren, PhD, professor of Physiology at the UTHSC, has received a research grant totaling $1,217,250 from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a subsidiary of the NIH.

Anjaparavanda Naren, PhD, professor of Physiology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has received a research grant totaling $1,217,250 from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health. The award will be distributed over a four-year period to fund his study on diarrheal diseases. Diarrhea is a common cause of illness and death globally, especially among the elderly and young children in developing countries. The condition can lead to physical dehydration and chemical imbalances.

Worldwide, four billion diarrhea episodes occur annually, leading to 4 percent of all deaths each year. In the United States, approximately 300 million episodes of acute diarrhea occur annually, resulting in about eight million physician visits and more than 900,000 hospitalizations. Many of these cases involve the activation of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), a protein that functions as a channel across the membrane of cells and produces digestive enzymes and the secretion of body fluids.

Using a mouse model, Dr. Naren’s research will examine the formation of the macromolecular complexes* of CFTR under physiologically healthy conditions, as well as diseased states. By reviewing the condition at the molecular level, Dr. Naren and his team will determine ways to control fluid loss, and thus cure secretory diarrheal diseases, which cause secretion of water through the intestine.

“Secretory diarrheas affect a large number of people worldwide, and it is important to study the disease at the molecular level,” said Dr. Naren. “Results from this study will help us to better understand the pathogenic process of deadly secretory diarrheas and assist us with discovering new treatments.”

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) conducts and supports research on many of the most serious diseases affecting public health. Studies include a array of metabolic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, inborn errors of metabolism, endocrine disorders, mineral metabolism, digestive and liver diseases, nutrition, urology and renal disease, and hematology. For more information about NIDDK and its research, visit http://www2.niddk.nih.gov/.

*macromolecular complexes — large molecules found in plants and animals that consist of many components, consume energy, and perform essential tasks in the cell.