World Diabetes Day: Professor Mark Febbraio addresses Helmholtz Diabetes Centre researchers

Garvan’s Professor Mark Febbraio has given the Helmholtz Diabetes Centre Distinguished Lecture at the Helmholtz Zentrum München in Germany.

Professor Mark Febbraio and Professor Matthias Tschöp (Helmholtz Diabetes Centre)

19 November 2016

Professor Mark Febbraio (who heads Garvan’s Diabetes and Metabolism Division) has given the Helmholtz Diabetes Centre Distinguished Lecture at the Helmholtz Zentrum München in Germany. Prof Febbraio delivered the lecture on World Diabetes Day (Monday, November 14).

Prof Febbraio’s lecture focused on myokines – small proteins that are produced by muscle cells in response to exercise. Once released, myokines travel through the circulatory system to other organs, altering their biology. 

Prof Febbraio and his team were the first to show that muscle could release proteins that could signal to other organs, when they showed that the protein interleukin-6 – previously known only for its role in the immune system – was secreted from muscle in response to exercise. The findings, and Prof Febbraio’s work since, underscore how exercise can affect organ systems across the body.

Ultimately, Prof Febbraio says, exercise – by means of the secretion of myokines from muscle – has the potential to protect against diabetes and other metabolic disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and possibly some cancers.

Prof Febbraio says the opportunity to deliver the Helmholtz Distinguished Lecture was an honour. 

He says, “I am delighted to have had the opportunity to visit the Helmholtz Centre and deliver this prestigious lecture on such a significant day for people living with diabetes.”

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