National Institute of Nutrition
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Hyderabad-500 007, India.
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     Molecular Biology Unit

Research activities

Molecular Dissection of the regulatory mechanisms linking Type 2 diabetes, Obesity, Hypertension and Coronary heart diseases.

  1. Resistin: Molecular link between diabetes and obesity
    A. Understanding regulation of resistin gene expression
    B. Comprehensive characterization of resistin protein
    C.Evaluation of its involvement in predisposition to obesity/diabetes

  2. Genetic polymorphism in PPARg and other known diabetogenes and their association with insulin resistance, cardiovascular diseases and hypertension
    A. Identification of polymorphisms in coding/regulatory sequences of PPARg, ACRP 30, resistin etc. in clinically defined cases of obesity, hypertension and type 2 diabetes

  3. Understanding mechanism of action of PPARg by hypoglycemic drugs A. Identification of genes that are differentially regulated upon TZD treatment

  4. Molecular epidemiology of type 2 diabetes
    A. Identification of SNPs in PPARg in Indian population and its association with type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disorders
    B. Identification of SNPs in structural and functional domains of resistin and their association with the etiology of type 2 diabetes and obesity in clinically defined patients

  5. Understanding the mechanisms of resistin/PPARg regulation
    A. Linker scanning analyses of the human resistin promoter
    B. Cross-talks between various trans-acting factors like NFkB, AP1, PPARg etc in regulation of resistin.
    C. Association of PPARg and resistin with pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes
    D. Functional and biophysical characterization of the resistin protein
    E. Identification and characterization of the receptor for resistin and its role in insulin signaling

Research achievements

  1. Role of type of dietary fat in the etiopathogenesis of carcinogen – induced breast neoplasm in fischer female rats” showed that n6 rich diet has deleterious effects in relation to tumorogenesis while n3 alone diet has a better outlook with respect to the same. Apart from n3 diet, n3 + n6 diet was also observed to be beneficial.  SFA and TFA diets that are associated with increased incidence of CVD and other chronic diseases do not seem to show a similar trend with respect to carcinogen induced mammary neoplasms. Another study on “Effect of dietary nutrients on subchronic and chronic nephrotoxicity in Sprague Dawley (SD) Rats” showed no significant changes in any of the parameters studied.

  2. Collaborative projects were varied and dealt with subjects relating to fluorosis, diabetes, health implications of dietary coconut oils, studies in NIN obese rat, development of rat model for ulcerative colitis, biocompatibility of polyelectrolyte complexes and wound healing studies. Clinical pathology evaluation in human studies included pesticide exposure by agricultural formers and B12 deficiency studies in pregnant women.

Present Research Activities

  1. From the Division of Pathology, the “Role of Aldose Reductase (AR) in human cancer chemo-drug resistance: Role of dietary ‘AR’ inhibitors as adjuvants” is being looked into and to date it was seen that there was a significant difference in the AR levels in RBCs in all individual tumor types as compared to Controls. The AKR1B10 levels in tumor and non-tumor tissues, showed some significant trends. However, as the sample size ‘n’ ‘ is varying, no definite conclusion can be reached. Further sample collection is in progress. AR levels as well as activity in all above tissue samples is to be done. Also, estimation of cytokines NFkb, TNFα, IL1b,IL6 etc. to be done in samples to be collected. Another study on “Effect of dietary nutrients on subchronic and chronic hepatotoxicity in Sprague Dawley (SD) Rats” would be undertaken.

  2. Other projects include “Maternal vitamin B12 restriction induced changes in body adiposity, hyperglycemia and insulin resistance in WNIN rat offspring: Molecular basis of the changes”, “Biomarkers for transplacental genotoxic effects and their chemoprevention (INDO-BULGARIAN PROJECT)” and “Role of the ubiquitin proteasome pathway in vitamin D deficiency induced muscle atrophy and hypoinsulinemia”.

  3. Electron Microscopy Studies: This facility was installed in late 2009 and after standardization, to date, a total of 8 projects involving SEM studies have been done on a collaborative basis. The major public health importance study done by ICMR on the request of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India, on “stored rice samples” in collaboration with other Divisions of the institute was carried out. Further, 4 more collaborative projects are being done.   

  4. Pre-Clinical Toxicology: A total of 22 projects were executed with Clinical Pathology, Haematology and Histopathology contributions in them which included vaccines, ayurvedic bhasmas, proprietary molecules, anti-tumor agents, stem cells etc. At present, 4 projects are being handled which would be completed in near future.  Also, with respect to Genetically Modified Foods Safety Evaluation including allergenicity, human serum sample testing methodology is being pursued. 

  5. Services: Histopathology services were rendered to various private (Reddy Labs, Virchow Biotech, RCC etc) and governmental agencies (Indian Immunologicals, IIIM-Jammu, KEM Hospital, IICT etc.) and 11 projects were handled.


  1. Genomic organization of mouse and human resistin was determined. Mouse resistin was shown to be regulated by the cis acting sequences present on the large intron of mouse resistin which are absent in the human counterpart. Ghosh et al., (2003) Gene 305:27-34. Impact factor-3.041.    

  2. Biophysical characterization of the purified human resistin revealed that it can undergo concentration dependent structural transition and oligomerization which could be implicated in the development of atherosclerotic plaques.Aruna et al., (2003) Biochem. 42:10554-10559 Impact factor-4.2

  3. The oligomerization involves covalent and noncovalent interactions. Raghu et al., (2004) Biochem. Biophys. Res. Com. 313:642-646 Impact factor-2.9

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