"Lipids are in many ways the most important of the biomolecules
because they are the ultimate controllers and regulators of our
bodily processes; they are key to signaling events in cells.
Further, imbalances in lipids are implicated in many illnesses, such
as heart disease, stroke, arthritis, diabetes and Alzheimer disease.
If we are going to solve these diseases, we must know what the
lipids are and what they do"
--Edward A. Dennis, University of California, San Diego
Welcome to the
website of the Eicosanoid Research Division at the Institute of
Molecular Biology and Genetics (IBGM by its initials in Spanish).
Here you can find information about the research being done and the
people involved. If you like what you read here and would like to
know more, please write to
The IBGM is supported by
the University of
Valladolid and the
Spanish National Research Council (CSIC by its initials in
Spanish). The University of Valladolid provides physical space. For
everything else, our Division depends only on the CSIC.
home town, is the historical capital of the ancient kingdom of
Castile and León, nowadays an
Autonomous Region within Spain. Valladolid was founded by the
Castilians in the 11th century, but its name is thought to derive
from the Celtic-Roman "Valle Tolitum" (Watery Valley), or perhaps
the Arabic "Velad Walid" (Lands of the Governor), which suggests
that the area had been inhabited much before the Castilians settled
in. Natives of Valladolid are called vallisoletanos. Famous
vallisoletanos include Kings Philip II and Philip IV of Spain,
conquistadors Ponce de León and Pánfilo de Narváez, poets José
Zorrilla and Jorge Guillén, novelist Miguel Delibes, and college
student Sofía Balsinde.
is also key to the development of cardiovascular disease, one of the
most prevalent inflammatory disorders. Atherosclerosis is the
primary cause for cardiovascular disease, and diabetes increases the
risk several-fold by enhancing the formation and/or progression of
atherosclerotic lesions, a process in which abnormally-activated
monocytes and macrophages appear to play a major role. In diabetes,
these cells appear to be in a proinflammatory state, releasing
elevated amounts of cytokines and eicosanoids that perpetuate the
inflammatory condition. Monocytes/macrophages from diabetic patients
have been found to exhibit enhanced expression of Toll-like
receptors 2 and 4. These receptors sense bacterial pathogens
but also endogenous danger molecules such as saturated free fatty
acids, typically present at elevated amounts in obese individuals.
Eicosanoid Research Division consists of two research laboratories,
one headed by Prof. Jesús Balsinde and the other by Prof. María
Balboa. The Balsinde Lab leans toward biochemistry and chemical
biology strategies, and the Balboa Lab places more emphasis on
molecular cell biology approaches. While completely independent of
each other, there exists a great deal of interaction between the two
Work in the Eicosanoid
Research Division is focused on understanding lipid signaling,
particularly in relation to inflammation and obesity. Lipid
mediators are produced by a variety of phospholipases, of which
there are many types. We are currently interested in two of them;
the phospholipase A2s and the lipins (type 1 phosphatidate
phosphatases). The phospholipase A2s are responsible for generating
free AA for eicosanoid biosynthesis. The eicosanoids are of utmost
biomedical importance because they exert very potent proinflammatory
actions. On the other hand, lipins are central to the control of
triacyglycerol biosynthesis, and thus play a key role in obesity and
related disorders such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. At
the Eicosanoid Research Division we combine a wide range of
chemical, biochemical, pharmacoological, and molecular cell biology
techniques to study pathophysiologically relevant problems involving alterations in
lipid metabolism and signaling.
The Eicosanoid Research
Division is a founding member of the Spanish Research Network on
Diabetes and Associated Metabolic Disorders (CIBERDEM).