Group Groop

The FinnDiane Study

The nationwide Finnish Diabetic Nephropathy (FinnDiane) Study launched in 1997 has established its position as the world leading project on diabetic nephropathy. To date, the study comprises more than 8,000 well characterized patients with type 1 diabetes recruited from 93 centers all over Finland.

Long disease duration accompanied by poor glycemic control increase the risk of late diabetic complications in patients with type 1 diabetes. However, genetic as well as lifestyle factors also affect the development of microvascular (nephropathy, retinopathy, neuropathy) and macrovascular complications (myocardial infarction, stroke). The main aim is to elucidate why one third of the patients develop diabetic nephropathy with subsequent risk of macrovascular disease and premature death. Understanding the interplay between the environment, genes and lifestyle may help identify people at risk and may help tailoring preventative measures for susceptible patients. A number of environmental, life style and genetic risk factors have been described by the group, but of particular interest is the potential deleterious effects on the kidneys of chronic exposure to bacterial compounds and an inflammatory gut. Another promising hypothesis is diabetes-induced hypoxia that by a number of downstream effects can cause irreversible damage to tissues. Major efforts are made to dissect the genetic landscape of diabetic complications by employing state-of-the-art methods such as genome-wide association studies (GWAS), exome- and whole genome sequencing and epigenetics. In the first ever GWAS on diabetic nephropathy and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) we identified two susceptibility loci, another locus associated with the risk of ESRD in women, and a locus affecting the urinary albumin excretion, a hallmark of nephropathy. We have also shown that CTCF binding sites are sensitive to loss-of-methylation with gain-of-function suggesting that it will be possible to find gene targets that contribute to the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy.

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Senior Scientists
Aino Soro-Paavonen, MD, DMSc, Docent
Carol Forsblom, BM, DMSc, International Coordinator
Daniel Gordin, MD, DMSc, Docent
Markku Lehto, PhD, Docent
Niina Sandholm, DSc (Tech)
Valma Harjutsalo, PhD, Docent, Clinical Coordinator

Post-Doctoral Scientists
Aila Ahola, PhD
Anmol Kumar, PhD
Fernanda Ortiz, MD, DMSc
Johan Wadén, MD, DMSc
Kristiina Uusi-Rauva, PhD
Lena Thorn, MD, DMSc
Markku Saraheimo, MD, DMSc
Nina Elonen, MD, DMSc
Raija Lithovius, PhD

Graduate Students
Anna Syreeni, MSc
Annina Pirttiniemi, MSc
Emma Dahlström, MSc
Hanna Paajanen, MD
Heidi Tikkanen-Dolenc, MD
Jani Haukka, MSc
Jenny Wadén, MSc, BM
Maija Feodoroff, MD
Mari-Anne Härma, MSc
Miia Mannerla, MSc
Nadja Vuori, MSc
Stefanie Hägg-Holmberg, MD

Visiting Scientists
Kustaa Hietala, MD, DMSc (Central Hospital of Central Finland)
Luciano Bernardi, MD, PhD, Professor (University of Pavia, Italy)
Merlin Thomas, MD, PhD, Professor (Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)
Nicolae Mircea Panduru, MD, PhD (”Carol Davila” University, Bucharest, Romania)
Ville-Petteri Mäkinen, DSc (Tech), Professor (South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute, Adelaide, Australia)

Anna Sandelin, Research Nurse
Anna-Reetta Salonen, BSc, Laboratory Technician
Blanca Fagerudd, Research Assistant
Viktor Fagerudd, Research Assistant
Hanna Olanne, Laboratory Technician
Erkka Valo, MSc (Tech), Bioinformatician
Heli Ahola, Research Assistant
Jaana Tuomikangas, Research Nurse
Johanna Jalo, Research Assistant
Mira Korolainen, Research Nurse

Thorn LM, Forsblom C, Fagerudd J, Thomas MC, Pettersson-Fernholm K, Saraheimo M, Wadén J, Rönnback M, Rosengård-Bärlund M, af Björkesten C-G, Taskinen M-R, Groop P-H, on behalf of the FinnDiane Study Group.
Metabolic syndrome in type 1 diabetes. Association with diabetic nephropathy and glycemic control (the FinnDiane study). Diabetes Care 28: 2019-2024, 2005

Hietala K, Forsblom C, Summanen P, Groop PH; FinnDiane Study Group. Heritability of proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes 57: 2176-80, 2008

Mäkinen V-P, Soininen P, Forsblom C, Parkkonen M, Ingman P, Kaski K, Groop P-H, Ala-Korpela M, on behalf of the FinnDiane Study Group. 1H NMR metabonomics approach to the disease continuum of diabetic complications and premature death. Mol Syst Biol 4: 167, 2008

Groop P-H, Thomas MC, Moran JL, Wadén J, Thorn LM, Mäkinen V-P, Rosengård-Bärlund M, Saraheimo M, Hietala K, Heikkilä O, Forsblom C, on behalf of the FinnDiane Study Group. The presence and severity of chronic kidney disease predicts all-cause mortality in Type 1 diabetes. Diabetes 58: 1651-1658, 2009

Rosengård-Bärlund M, Bernardi L, Fagerudd J, Mäntysaari M, af Björkesten C-G, Lindholm H, Forsblom C, Wadén J, Groop P-H, FinnDiane Study Group. Early autonomic dysfunction in Type 1 diabetes: a reversible disorder? Diabetologia 52: 1164-1172, 2009

Harjutsalo V, Forsblom C, Groop P-H. Time trends in mortality in patients with type 1 diabetes: nationwide population based cohort study. Br Med J 2011, 343, 629 (print issue) and Br Med J 2011, 342, 1-11 (electronic version)

Sandholm N, Salem RN, McKnight AJ, Brennan EP, Forsblom C, Isakova T, McKay GI, Williams WW, Sadlier DM, Mäkinen V-P, Swan EJ, Palmer C, Boright AP, Ahlqvist E, Deshmukh HA, Keller BJ, Huang H, Ahola AJ, Fagerholm E, Gordin D, Harjutsalo V, He B, Heikkilä O, Hietala K, Kytö J, Lahermo P, Lehto M, Lithovius R, Österholm A-M, Parkkonen M, Pitkäniemi J, Rosengård-Bärlund M, Saraheimo M, Sarti C, Söderlund J, Soro-Paavonen A, Syreeni A, Thorn LM, Tikkanen H, Tolonen N, Tryggvason K, Tuomilehto J, Wadén J, Gill GV, Prior S, Guiducci C, Mirel DB, Taylor A, Hosseini SM, DCCT/EDIC Research Group, Parving H-H, Rossing P, Tarnow L, Ladenwall C, Alhenc-Gelas F, Lefebvre P, Rigalleau V, Roussel R, Tregouet D-A, Maestroni A, Maestroni S, Falhammar H, Gu T, Möllsten A, Cimponeriu D, Ioana M, Mota M, Mota E, Serafinceanu C, Stavarachi M, Hanson RL, Nelson RG, Kretzler M, Colhoun HM, Panduru NM, Gu HF, Brismar K, Zerbini G, Hadjadj S, Marre M, Groop L, Lajer M, Bull SB, Waggott D, Paterson AD, Savage DA, Bain SC, Martin F, Hirschhorn JN, Godson C, Florez JC, Groop P-H, Maxwell AP. New susceptibility loci associated with kidney disease in type 1 diabetes. PLoS Genet 8: 1-13 [e1002921], 2012

Forsblom C, Harjutsalo V, Thorn L, Wadén J, Tolonen N, Saraheimo M, Gordin D, Moran JL, Thomas MC, Groop P-H, FinnDiane Study Group. Competing-risk analysis of ESRD and death among patients with type 1 diabetes and macroalbuminuria. JASN 22: 537–544, 2011

Sandholm N, McKnight AM, Salem RM, Brennan EP, Forsblom C, Harjutsalo V, Mäkinen V-P, McKay GJ, Sadlier DM, Williams WW, Martin F, Panduru NM, Tarnow L, Tuomilehto J, Tryggvason K, Zerbini G, Comeau ME, Langefeld CD, for the FIND Consortium, Godson C, Hirschhorn JN, Maxwell AP, Florez JC, Groop P-H, on behalf of the FinnDiane Study Group and the GENIE Consortium. Chromosome 2q31.1 associates with ESRD in women with type 1 diabetes. J Am Soc Nephrol 24: 1537-1543, 2013

Harjutsalo V, Sund R, Knip M, Groop P-H. Incidence of type 1 diabetes in Finland. JAMA 310: 427-428, 2013

Academy of Finland

EFSD Rising Star Fellowship Program

European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD)

Finnish Diabetes Research Society

Finska Läkaresällskapet (Finnish Medical Society)

Folkhälsan Research Foundation

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Liv och Hälsa Foundation

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Novo Nordisk Foundation

Nylands Nation

Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation

The Helsinki University Central Hospital Research Funds

University of Helsinki funded doctoral program

Wilhelm and Else Stockmann Foundation


Prof. Johan Eriksson (University of Helsinki)

Prof. Leif Groop (University of Helsinki and University of Lund, Sweden)

Prof. Sohvi Hörkkö (University of Oulu)

Doc. Matti Jauhiainen (University of Helsinki)

Doc. Juha Kirveskari (University of Helsinki)

Prof. Mikael Knip (University of Helsinki)

Prof. Sanna Lehtonen (University of Helsinki)

Doc. Markus Metsälä (University of Helsinki)

Prof. Markus Perola (University of Helsinki)

Prof. Kirsi Pietiläinen (University of Helsinki)

Doc. Pirkko Pussinen (University of Helsinki)

Doc. Jukka Putaala (University of Helsinki)

Doc. Paula Summanen (University of Helsinki)

Prof. Marja-Riitta Taskinen (University of Helsinki)

Prof. Heikki Tikkanen (University of Eastern Finland, University of Helsinki)

Prof. Ilkka Tikkanen (University of Helsinki)

Doc. Tiinamaija Tuomi (University of Helsinki)


Prof. Helen Colhoun (University of Edinburgh, UK)

Prof. Mark Cooper (Monash University, Australia)

Prof. Assam El-Osta (Monash University, Australia)

Ass. Prof. Paola Fioretto (University of Padova, Italy)

Ass. Prof. Jose Florez (Harvard University, USA)

Prof. Allan Flyvbjerg (University of Aarhus and Copenhagen, Denmark),

Prof. Alessia Fornoni (University of Miami, USA)

Prof. Catherine Godson (University of Dublin, Ireland)

Prof. Maria Gomez (University of Lund, Sweden)

Prof. Samy Hadjadj (University of Poitiers, France)

Prof. Joel Hirschhorn (Harvard University, USA)

Prof. Harry Holthöfer (University of Freiburg, Germany)

Prof. Andrzej S. Krolewski (Harvard University, USA)

Ass. Prof. Christine Maric (NIH, USA)

Prof. A. Peter Maxwell (University of Belfast, UK)

Ass. Prof. Andrew Patterson (University of Toronto, Canada)

Prof. Massimo Porta (University of Torino, Italy)

Prof. Peter Rossing (University of Aarhus and Copenhagen, Denmark)

Prof. Kumar Sharma (University of San Diego, USA)

Prof. Karl Tryggvason (University of DukeNUS, Singapore)


    • Per-Henrik Groop

      MD, DMSc, Professor, Group Leader

    • Tel:
      +358 50 043 0436

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