Pennington Biomedical Research Scores August Cover of Diabetes Magazine

August 22, 2023

Led by Pennington Biomedical Executive Director Dr. John Kirwan, study demonstrates the link between exercise and improved pancreatic function and insulin secretion  

For more information, contact Joe Coussan,, 225-763-3049

DiabetesBATON ROUGE – A recent study by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center has earned the front cover of Diabetes, a leading journal for metabolic research, treatment, and prevention. Labeled “The Paper of the Month,” the study, “GDF15 Mediates the Effect of Skeletal Muscle Contraction on Glucose-Stimulated Insulin Secretion,” identified a new connection between exercise and improved management of type 2 diabetes.

Dr. John Kirwan, who is Executive Director of Pennington Biomedical, led the study with colleagues in the Integrated Physiology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory. The research study identified GDF15 as a protein produced by contracting muscle which acts as a cellular signal to enhance insulin secretion, a rate-limiting component of disease progression. Dr. Kirwan and colleagues also observed that high intensity exercise training in patients with type 2 diabetes had elevated levels of GDF15 circulating in the body, which associated with improved glycemic control.

“My team and I, as well as the key partners who collaborated with us, are honored to have our work and research featured on the cover of Diabetes magazine,” Dr. Kirwan said. “This research supports the idea that exercise can be an important key in stimulating insulin creation, thus staving off some of the more detrimental effects of diabetes. Pennington Biomedical’s various labs, equipment, and talented staff make discoveries such as this a commonplace occurrence.”

Diabetes is the flagship journal of the American Diabetes Association and publishes original research about the physiology and pathophysiology of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The publication emphasizes investigative reports that focus on areas such as the development of diabetes and its complications, pancreatic islet function, the mechanisms of drug and hormone action, and more. 

About the Pennington Biomedical Research Center

The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. The Center architected the national “Obecity, USA” awareness and advocacy campaign to help solve the obesity epidemic by 2040. The Center conducts basic, clinical, and population research, and is affiliated with LSU.

The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes over 480 employees within a network of 40 clinics and research laboratories, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Its scientists and physician/scientists are supported by research trainees, lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and other support personnel. Pennington Biomedical a state-of-the-art research facility on a 222-acre campus in Baton Rouge.

For more information, see

Pennington Biomedical Research Center
6400 Perkins Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70808