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Insulin Is not the Solely Blood Sugar Regulator


By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 5, 2022 (HealthDay Information) — Scientists have recognized for 100 years that insulin is the physique’s essential mechanism for controlling blood sugar ranges, however researchers have now found a second hormone does the identical job a bit in a different way — they usually say it might be a brand new goal for treating diabetes.

The hormone, referred to as FGF1, is produced within the physique’s fats tissue. Like insulin, it swiftly lowers sugar ranges within the blood, however researchers present in mice that it really works independently of insulin, and by a unique mechanism.

Kind 2 diabetes arises when the physique turns into immune to insulin, resulting in chronically excessive blood ranges of glucose (sugar). Over time, that may take a toll on the physique’s arteries and nerves, resulting in issues like coronary heart and kidney illness, stroke, imaginative and prescient issues and everlasting nerve harm.

Within the new examine, scientists discovered FGF1 suppresses the breakdown of fats tissue, which reduces the liver’s potential to churn out glucose. Insulin additionally does these issues, however FGF1 accomplishes it by way of a unique “signaling pathway” within the physique.

And in lab mice with insulin resistance, injections of FGF1 considerably decrease blood sugar.

“This mechanism is mainly a second loop, with all some great benefits of a parallel pathway,” mentioned examine writer Gencer Sancar, a postdoctoral researcher on the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif.

“In insulin resistance, insulin signaling is impaired,” Sancar mentioned in an institute information launch. “Nevertheless, with a unique signaling cascade, if one shouldn’t be working, the opposite can. That method you continue to have the management of [fat breakdown] and blood glucose regulation.”

Nevertheless, whether or not the animal findings will finally translate to individuals with sort 2 diabetes stays to be seen.

One query is whether or not people who find themselves insulin-resistant would even be immune to FGF1, famous Dr. Emily Gallagher, an endocrinologist who was not concerned within the examine.

She mentioned it is also attainable that concentrating on FGF1 might be efficient in sure individuals with sort 2 diabetes, however not others.

“Kind 2 diabetes is a posh situation the place totally different people have totally different metabolic profiles,” defined Gallagher, an assistant professor within the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Ailments on the Icahn Faculty of Drugs at Mount Sinai in New York Metropolis.

Scientists had recognized one thing in regards to the workings of FGF1. In previous research, the Salk researchers discovered that it lowered blood sugar in lab mice, and when given frequently it lessened insulin resistance within the animals.

The brand new examine, printed Jan. 4 within the journal Cell Metabolism, delved into precisely how the hormone works.

The researchers discovered that, much like insulin, FGF1 suppresses fats breakdown, which in flip helps management blood sugar. However its modus operandi is totally different: Insulin acts via an enzyme referred to as PDE3B, which units off a series of occasions referred to as a signaling pathway.

FGF1 makes use of a unique enzyme — referred to as PDE4.

“Now that we have got a brand new pathway, we will determine its function in vitality homeostasis within the physique and manipulate it,” mentioned senior examine writer Michael Downes, a workers scientist at Salk.

Gallagher mentioned it is “very fascinating” that FGF1 can have insulin-like results in fats tissue. However rather more stays to be discovered.

Extra lab analysis, she mentioned, is required to know the long-term results of FGF1 on insulin signaling and insulin resistance.

“And in individuals,” Gallagher mentioned, “it will be vital to know extra in regards to the systemic results of administering FGF1, as FGF1 impacts many organ methods — together with the inflammatory system — and in addition can alter tumor development.”

Whether or not manipulating the hormone, or the proteins it regulates, could be acceptable in individuals with sort 2 diabetes “stays to be decided,” Gallagher mentioned.

Extra data

The U.S. Nationwide Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Ailments has extra on sort 2 diabetes.

SOURCES: Emily Gallagher, MD, PhD, assistant professor, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Ailments, Icahn Faculty of Drugs at Mount Sinai, New York Metropolis; Cell Metabolism, Jan. 4, 2022; Salk Institute, information launch, Jan. 4, 2022

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