Institute of Endocrinology

About Institute of Endocrinology

Institute of Endocrinology
Address: Eiveniu str. 2, LT-50009 Kaunas
Phone: +370 37 733819
E-mail: rasa.janulioniene@lsmuni.lt




The
Institute of Endocrinology was established in 1978, and since 1994 became a part of the current Medical Academy of Lithuania at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LUHS [LSMU]).

It is a division of the Academy of Medicine established for the fundamental, clinical and epidemiological studies of endocrine diseases at the international and national levels and provides a scientific basis for students 'third-level (doctoral PhD) studies and faculty members' scientific qualifications.

The institute consists of two laboratories – diabetes and general endocrinology. The major activities cover fundamental and clinical research in the field of biomedical sciences, including Biology and Medicine.

The scope of current scientific work focuses on the following directions:

  1. Investigation of environmental and genetic factors in predicting human reproductive health.
  2. Investigation of molecular mechanisms and clinical features of neuroendocrine regulation and its disorders.
  3. Registry for patients with diabetes, impact of immune, genetic and environmental factors on the disease etiology, prevention and treatment strategy.

In the Institute of Endocrinology at 15 December 2020 there were 4 administrative and auxiliary workers (2.25 staff units), 15 research workers (7.25 staff units) including 13 researchers, and 6 laboratory assistants (3.25 full-time). The total number of people at the institute was 23 (12.75 staff units).

Research themes

The Institute of Endocrinology conducts the following scientific issues financed by the budget of the Republic of Lithuania:

A. In the Laboratory of General Endocrinology:

1. Research on neuroendocrine regulation mechanisms (Physical and psychological evaluation of men with hypogonadism undergoing testosterone replacement therapy; Clinical and genetic studies in the evaluation of pathogenesis and possible treatment options of hypothalamic-pituitary disorders).

2. Investigation of environmental and genetic factors in predicting human reproductive health.

3. Thyroid tests (The study for new combinations of clinical, genetic and epigenetic markers in thyroid diseases).

B. In the Laboratory of Diabetes mellitus:

1. Registry for patients with diabetes, the effect of immune, genetic and environmental factors on the disease, etiology, prevention and treatment strategy:

2. Studies on risk factors and complications of diabetes mellitus (Diabetic neuropathy, nephropathy and retinopathy in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus, research on diabetes risk factors and complications in diabetes; An attempt to unravel the clinical, genetic and environmental risk factors for the pathogenesis of late complications in patients with type 1 diabetes; Stress and sleep relationships with emotional status and quality of life and patients with diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome).

3. Prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

 

 

PhD studies 2013-2020

PhD students leded and lead by researchers from the Institute of Endocrinology 2013-2020 and thems of doctoral works

 

  1. PhD. Gailytė Ieva. Associations between vitamin D concentration, body composition, endocrine and psychological state and life quality in young healthy men (Supervisor PHD Gintautas Kazanavičius, Date of PhD thesis defence 4 of June 2013).
  2. PhD Dubosienė Rūta. Associations between diabetic ulcers caused by diabetes mellitus and life quality, psychological, sociodemographic, and clinical factors of diabetes (Supervisor PHD Rita Šulcaitė, Date of PhD thesis defence 9 of August 2013).
  3. PhD Giedrė Vasylienė. Associations between pituitary endocrine function, body composition, psychological state and life quality after traumatic brain injury (Supervisor PHD Rimantas Žalinkevičius, Date of PhD thesis defence 27 of August 2013).
  4. PhD Dalia Daukšienė. Prognostic factors predicting the medical therapy failure in Graves' disease (Supervisor PHD Narseta Mickuvienė, Date of PhD thesis defence 28 of August 2013).
  5. PhD Jonas Čeponis. Reproductive function of young and middle-aged men: relation to antropometric, metabolic and psychological state (Supervisor PhD Romualdas Tomas Preikša, Date of PhD thesis defence 23 of June 2014).
  6. PhD Lina Čiaplinskienė. The impact of hormonal contraception on the changes of metabolic, androgen, blood coagulation parameters and sexual function in female. (Supervisor Prof. PhD Birutė Žilaitienė, Consultant prof. Johannes Bitzer, Date of PhD thesis defence 25 of August 2016).
  7. PhD Natalija Smetanina. Overweight and obesity in children and adolescents: etiology, complications and effects of 12-months intervention (Supervisor Prof. PhD Rasa Verkauskienė, Date of PhD thesis defence 30 of August 2016).
  8. Miglė Francaitė – Daugelienė. The influence of gestational diabetes and obesity on health of mothers and their offspring (Supervisor Prof. PhD Džilda Veličkienė, date of PhD thesis defence 5 July 2018).
  9. Rūta Krikščiūnienė. Relationship between cardiometabolic, hormonal, genetic risk factors and aortic dilatation in Turner syndrome. (Supervisor Prof. PhD Birutė Žilaitenė, date of PhD thesis defence 19 June 2019).
  10. Dovilė Ražanskaitė-Virbickienė. The characteristics of autonomic neurvous system and their associations with cardiovascular events and quality of life among patients with diabetes mellitus (Supervisor PhD Rimantas Žalinkevičius, Date of PhD thesis defence 11 June 2019).
  11. Ingrida Stankutė. Investigation of beta-cell function and new gene mutations among patients with non-autoimmune diabetes. (Supervisor Prof. PhD Rasa Verkauskienė).
  12. Diana Šimonienė. The investigation of etiology and pathogenesis of severe insulin resistance (Supervisor  Prof. PhD. Dzilda Velickiene).
  13. Rūta Navardauskaitė. Population-based cohort study of congenital adrenal hyperplasia in Lithuania: correlation of genotype-phenotype (Supervisor Prof. PhD Rasa Verkauskienė)
  14. Aistė Kondrotienė. The study of diagnostic and prognostic epigenetic biomarkers in papillary thyroid cancer. (Supervisor Prof. PhD Birutė Žilaitienė, Consultant Prof. PhD Krystian Jażdżewski).
  15. Raimonda Klimaitė. Diagnostic and prognostic value of TSHR mRNA expression and TSHR promoter methylation studies in patients with papillary thyroid carcinoma (Supervisor Prof. PhD Birutė Žilaitienė)

Projects 2013-2020

Long term consequences of gestational diabetes and obesity on health of mothers and their offspring MIP-14192/2014. Project manager: Dr. Jilda Veličkienė. The duration of the project was from 01.05.2014 to 31.12.2016. Project budget was 71912,65 euros. Source of funding: Lithuanian Science Council.

Aim: To evaluate long term consequences of gestational diabetes on health of mothers and their offspring.

Objectives:

  1. To assess the prevalence of obesity in women of reproductive age 15-20 years period.
  2. Long term consequences evaluation (>15years) of gestational diabetes/obesity for mothers and their children's health (carbohydrate, lipid metabolism, body composition, mental health, eating habits, physical activity, social status, diabetes and cardiovascular the risk of disease).
  3. To compare the results of sibling, who were born in the pathological pregnancy complicated gestational diabetes and / or obesity and normal pregnancy, health condition.
  4. To assess the frequency of complications of diabetes in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes.
  5. To evaluate type 2 diabetes mellitus mostly predisposing gene TCF7L2 single nucleotide polymorphisms (rs7901695, rs7903146, rs7895340, rs11196205, rs12255372) with history of gestational diabetes in women and their children.
  6. To prepare examination, monitoring and treatment recommendations for women who have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
  7. To prepare examination and monitoring recommendations offspring whose mothers had gestational diabetes identified.

Project MIP-15445 „Cardiometabolic risk factors in Turner syndrome: prospective one population cohort study”. Project manager Prof. PhD Rasa Verkauskiene. Project start 01-04-2015, end of 2018-03-30. Budget - 87666 euros. Source of funding: Lithuanian Science Council.

The aim of the study: To identify the cardiometabolic risk factors in Turner syndrome (TS) population in Lithuania.

Objects:

1.  To investigate the prevalence of aortic lesions by using radiological evaluation methods (cardioechoscopy, magnetic resonance imaging) in TS population.

2.  To identify the association between congenital cardiovascular abnormalities and aortic dilation in the assessed group.

3.  To evaluate the influence of metabolic disorders and hormonal imbalance to aortic dilation in TS.

4. To compare the prevalence of Fibrilin-1 gene (FBL-1) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) rs10519177 and  rs211818 between TS and healthy females.

5. To identify the correlation between FBL-1 SNP’s rs10519177 and  rs211818 and aortic diameter in TS.

6. To evaluate the correlation between cardiometabolic disorders, hormone imbalance and genetic features and aortic diameter changes in TS during 18 months.

7. To assess the psychoemotional state, congenital functions, sexual function and quality of life in TS population.

Investigation of genetic and epigenetic prognostic markers for prediction of clinical course of papillary thyroid cancer in different age groups. Project SEN-14/2015 is carried out in accordance with the national program "Healthy aging". Head the project: Prof. PhD Birutė Žilaitienė. Project start at 01-10-2015 and will end at 2018-12-31. Budget - 199865 euros. Source of funding: Lithuanian Science Council.

The project is carried out under the program Healthy aging financed by Research Council of Lithuania. The aim of the current study is to identify specific miRNA as biomarkers for early diagnosis of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) and to determine their diagnostic utility for predicting disease aggressiveness and clinical outcome. We will analyze 5 miRNAs (-146b, -221, -222, -181, -21) expression profiles between aggressive and nonaggressive PTC in large number of paraffin-embedded PTC tissue samples. Possible associations of miRNAs expression with BRAF V600E mutation within PTC tissue and clinicopathological features of PTC may help to improve tumor behavior prognostication. Identification of prognostic biomarkers would greatly improve patient management by facilitating the identification of patients with indolent PTC, who do not require aggressive treatment and to provide adequate intensive management for a subgroup of patients with aggressive disease. Investigation of circulating miRNAs (-146b, -221, -222, -181, -21) expression in patients with PTC, benign nodules and healthy controls may help to differentiate benign nodules from malignancies. Our identified molecular biomarkers will be employed to develop guidelines for early diagnosis of PTC and tumor behavior prognostication. The project should provide new knowledge about novel molecular biomarkers of PTC, which may improve diagnosis and treatment of disease, improving health outcomes and reducing the social and economic impact of disease.

Project “Genetic diabetes in Lithuania” (CH-3-ŠMM-01/09). Local supervisor - Prof. PhD Dalė Marčiulionytė. Project duration: November 2012 -  April 2016. The project was funded by the support of Swiss Confederation and the Republic of Lithuania's budget. The project budget is 6.684.38.87€.

The program "Research and Development" is a constituent part of the Lithuanian-Swiss cooperation program. Project “Genetic diabetes in Lithuania” was developed in the frame of this program. based on the up-to-date scientific knowledge. The aims of this study:

1. To investigate different origins of diabetes in young population (<25 years="" of="" lithuania="" and="" identify="" non-autoimmune="" diabetes="" cohort="" p="">

2. To perform genetic testing in subjects with non-autoimmune diabetes.

3. To compare metabolic control and diabetes complications prevalence between autoimmune and genetic diabetes patients.

Setting aside the origin of autoimmune diabetes in patients diagnosed with genetic diabetes, they will be permitted to switch from insulin to oral therapy products. This was the first and unique opportunity in Lithuania for patients to diagnose genetic diabetes free.

e-PREDICE

Project “Early Prevention of Diabetes Complications in Europe” was funded by SEVENTH FRAMEWORK. Project duration is 1st of January 2012 - 31st of July 2015. Local supervisor Prof. PhD Jilda Veličkienė. Project budget is 8.212.206.89€, Lithuanian part – 224.864.00 €.

PROGRAMME. General objective of project is to assess the long-term effects of different therapeutic regimens, both pharmacological and lifestyle interventions, for the early prevention of diabetic complications in people with intermediate hyperglycaemia (IFG or IGT) and screen-detected diabetes (SD-T2D). During the research 3000 45-74-year-aged patients from 12 countries will be examined.


MANAGE-CARE

“Active ageing with type 2 diabetes as model for development and implementation of innovative chronic care management in Europe (MANAGE-CARE)” was funded by SEVENTH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME. Project duration: May 2013 - April 2016. Local supervisor Prof. PhD Jilda Veličkienė.

MANAGE-CARE focuses on prevention of costly complications and hospitalizations of patients with chronic diseases with diabetes as a model disease. Project budget is 1.154.069.00 €, Lithuanian part – 14.659.00 €

Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU) – Kaunas Technology University (KTU) funded project: "Diabetic kidney disease prognosis technology". Project duration: 01.01.2017. -2017.12.30. Project budget: 19903.62 euros. Managers: dr. Jilda Veličkienė (LSMU) and prof. Alzbuth (KTU)

Objective: To develop diabetic kidney disease prediction technology for obesity type 2 diabetes mellitus, based on a mathematical model of disease progression.

Tasks:

1. To syndicate the information and create a mathematical model that allows predicting the progression of diabetic kidney disease in obese patients, depending on the course of diabetes mellitus, treatment and concomitant diseases, i.e. y Allows for disease and cost forecasting technology DILPROT;

2. Collect all the necessary data and validate the mathematical and computer model;

3. To draw up and demonstrate the technology of DILPROT and its methodology.

4. Develop a Markov Chain Model to predict progression of the disease and treatment option;

5. To validate the mathematical and computer model of the analysis of diabetic kidney disease data;

6. To compile and demonstrate diabetic kidney disease prognosis technology and application possibilities.

Biomarkers of diabetic retinopathy: epigenetic modifications of the gene ubiquitinoproteosome system, telomere length and proteasome concentration (RETINUPSDIAB). Registration LMT: P-LLT-19-4. Duration of the program: 2019-2021 Partners: Department of Ophthalmology, National Taiwan University Hospital (Taiwan), University of Latvia, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Laboratory for Personalized Medicine (Latvia).

Participation in the international non-budgetary programs:

1. DIAMOND (Diabetes Mondiale).

2. EURODIAB-TIGER (Europe and diabetes: type 1 genetic epidemiology resource).

3. LitDiane (The impact of clinical, genetic and environmental risk factors on the development of late complications in type 1 diabetes; The part of InterDiane consortium). Local supervisor Prof. PhD Rasa Verkauskienė

The project is implemented at the Department of Endocrinology, Department of Ophthalmology, Department of Nephrology (Hospital of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences) and at the Institute of Endocrinology of the Medical Academy of  Lithuanian University of Health Sciences.

The main aim of the study is try to explain why one third of all patients with type 1 diabetes develop late diabetic complications, that is, to identify clinical, genetic and environmental risk factors for the development and progression of diabetic micro- and macrovascular complications (nephropathy, retinopathy, central-peripheral-autonomic neuropathy, cardiovascular disease).

Attendance in COST activities

Prof. Rasa Verkauskienė. MPNS COST Action TD1103. European Network for Hyperpolarization Physics and Methodology in NMR and MRI.

Prof. Rasa Verkauskienė, PhD. Romualdas Tomas Preikša, Prof. Birutė Žilaitienė, Ass.prof. Jonas Čeponis Cost Action BM1105. GnRH Deficiency: Elucidation of the neuroendocrine control of human reproduction.

Contacts

Prof. PhD Rasa Verkauskienė

Director

Phone: +370 37 327097 (Local LSMU 7097)

E-mail: rasa.verkauskiene@lsmuni.lt

 

Laboratory of Diabetes Mellitus

Prof. PhD Džilda Veličkienė

Laboratory Manager

Senior Researcher

Phone: +370 37 703494 (Local 3494)

E-mail: dzilda.velickiene@lsmuni.lt

Prof. Habil. Dr. Antanas Norkus

Chief Researcher

Phone:+370 698 04824

E-mail: antanas.norkus@lsmuni.lt

PhD Rytas Ostrauskas

Chief Researcher

Phone: +370 610 23645 (Local 3447)

E-mail: rytas.ostrauskas@lsmuni.lt

PhD Rimantas Žalinkevičius

Chief Researcher

Phone: +370 37 326482 (local 6482)

E-mail: rimantas.zalinkevicius@lsmuni.lt

Prof. PhD Dalė Marčiulionytė

Senior Researcher

Phone: +370 37 703442

E-mail: dale.marciulionyte@lsmuni.lt

PhD Lina Lašaitė

Senior Researcher

Phone: +370 617 69038

E-mail: lina.lasaite@lsmuni.lt

Ass prof. PhD Evalda Danytė

Researcher

Phone:+370 687 12838

E-mail: evalda.danyte@flsmuni.lt

Ass prof. PhD Lina Radzevičienė

Senior Researcher

Phone: +370 685 10099

E-mail:lina.radzeviciene@lsmuni.lt

 

Laboratory of General Endocrinology

Prof. PhD Birutė Žilaitienė

Laboratory Manager

Chief Researcher

Phone: +370 37 326868 (Local 6506)

E-mail: birute.zilaitiene@lsmuni.lt

Prof. PhD Rasa Verkauskienė

Chief Researcher

Phone: +370 37 327097 (Local LSMU 7097)

E-mail: rasa.verkauskiene@lsmuni.lt

PhD Romualdas Tomas Preikša

Senior Researcher

Phone: +370 398 45889

E-mail: romualdastomas.preiksa@lsmuni.lt

Ass. prof. Dr. Jonas Čeponis

Senior Researcher

E-mail: jonas.ceponis@lsmuni.lt

PhD Dalia Daukšienė

Junior Researcher

E-mail: dalia.dauksiene@lsmuni.lt

Mintautė Kazokaitė

Junior Researcher

E-mail: mintaute.kazokaite@lsmuni.lt

Eglė Vaitkutė

Junior Researcher

E-mail: egle.vaitkute@lsmuni.lt