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Biological Function of Food

Research profile

The subject area and research methods developed derive from contemporary knowledge on the impact of eating habits and health quality of food products on the development and course of multiple population diseases, including obesity, diabetes and diseases of the cardiovascular system. In studies the food products and dietary supplements examined are perceived as a source of both nutrients and biologically-active compounds with a specific effect that either mitigates or aggravates the risk of metabolic disorders. Such studies are feasible owing to appropriate models of in vivo research that enable evaluating nutritional properties of constructed diets supplemented with selected functional compounds including, among others, phenolic extracts, dietary fibre-phenolic preparations as well as prebiotic and phytobiotic preparations. The focus of interest is the effect of diet constituents on the functioning of the alimentary tract (i.a. absorptive functions of the small intestine and fermentation processes in the colon), usability of various nutritional interventions in health prophylaxis, and finally verification of their efficacy in reducing metabolic disorders that commence pathogenic processes including, i.a., a high level of free radicals, dyslipidemia and hyperglycemia. Experiments are conducted with conventional laboratory rodents, including rats with impaired metabolism (e.g. through induction of early or advanced diabetes) and livestock animals being research models of selected diseases or providing food products that play a significant role in man’s diet. Investigations conducted with rodents are aimed at searching for cutting-edge methods for the evaluation of functional effects of dietary constituents and diets, whereas investigations with poultry are aimed at searching for effective methods to improve the health quality of animal products (meat and eggs).

The main goal of Regenerative Biology Team is to explore the contribution and the role of transcription factor Foxn1 in skin wound healing process. Performed experiments utilized Foxn1::Egfp transgenic mice and cell culture models: keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts.  The results indicate Foxn1 involvement in skin reparative wound healing through engagement in reepithelization process and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT).  Moreover, Foxn1 can act to regulate the balance between cell proliferation and differentiation and its inactivity in the skin of nude mice creates a pro-regenerative environment.

Research conducted by Central Metabolic Regulation Team is focused on central mechanisms regulating the maintenance of energy balance in mammals in changing environmental conditions. In formulating scientific hypotheses we assume that a fuller understanding of the role that the nervous system is playing in the processes, such as the feeling of hunger and satiety, mobilization of stored energy reserves or thermoregulation, will facilitate a defense against positive energy balance and obesity.

The common subject „The study of physiological determinants of metabolism and health status of the body with the use of laboratory animals and tissue, as a research model” is carried out under the three research tasks:

  1. Plant polyphenols as a factor responsible for modulating metabolism of glucose” (the person in charge dr hab. A. Jurgoński);
  2. Optimization of in vitro culturing human skin cells: keratinocytes and fibroblasts” (the person in charge dr hab. B. Gawrońska-Kozak);
  3. Low ambient temperature and leptin resistance state in the central nervous system” (the person in charge dr J. Jarosławska).