Glycation and Carbamoylation Research Unit: Projects


The rising prevalence of diabetes mellitus is creating a global public health problem. According to the current international criteria, diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is based on plasma glucose concentrations [either a fasting plasma glucose concentration ≥ 7.0 mmol/L, a random plasma glucose concentration ≥ 11.1 mmol/L or a 2-h plasma glucose value ≥ 11.1 mmol/L in the 75 g oral glucose tolerance test or a HbA1c level ≥ 48 mmol/mol. Blood glucose remains widely used for diagnosing and monitoring of diabetes mellitus, but this analysis is invasive and subject to preanalytical variation. Although HbA1c is now considered as a good diagnostic tool, various haemoglobinopathies (e.g. thalassaemias), factors that impact erythrocyte survival and age, hyperbilirubinemia, uremia and iron deficiency may influence the results.

Glycated keratin allows to monitor average glucose levels over the last weeks. In diabetes mellitus, an increased glycation of nail keratins has been observed. In the present project, we want to explore the possibilities of measuring glycation of nail proteins using NIR spectroscopy as a non-invasive alternative for diagnosis of diabetes mellitus.



Protein carbamoylation is a non-enzymatic post-translational modification that binds isocyanic acid, which can be derived from urea dissociation or from the catabolism of thiocyanate mediated by myeloperoxidase, to the free amino groups of a multitude of proteins. Depending on the affected molecule (collagen, erythropoietin, haemoglobin, low-density lipoprotein, high-density lipoprotein), several different biochemical alterations have been described with an important pathophysiological impact. Carbamoylated proteins have been linked to numerous processes such as atherosclerosis, lipid metabolism, immune system dysfunction (e.g. inhibition of the classical pathway of complement, inhibition of complement-dependent cytotoxicity of rituximab, reduced oxidative burst of neutrophils, formation of anti-carbamylated protein antibodies) and renal fibrosis. In the present project, we want to develop novel methods to detect carbamoylation in patients with chronic kidney disease.