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New Blood Sugar Lowering Technique Linking Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes is Discovered

The United States government declared Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes as national epidemics in the year 2009. The growing rate of both these physical disorders in the society is attributed to a prevalent sedentary life style of people belonging to all age groups. There are a plethora of research reports available proving the nexus between obesity and diabetes already. But researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston have utilized this fact and developed a treatment technique for diabetes instead. The results of the findings are published in the online journal Nature Medicine on March 28, 2010. This article tries to gain further insight on this topic.

Knowledge Gained from the Research:

  • Endoplasmatic reticulum section is the location inside a cell where all the proteins get together, acquire their proper shape and spread out to carry out their normal functions.
  • The study found that there is excess amount of stress on endoplasmic reticulum section of the brain, liver and fat cells of these mice.
  • Obesity causes this section of the cell to get stressed out and malfunction eventually.
  • This undesirable condition, called “ER stress”, initiates a series of events which subdues the body’s response to the hormone insulin.
  • The hormone Insulin is a naturally occurring chemical substance which reduces the glucose level in blood.
  • In Type 2 diabetic patients, insulin produced by the organ pancreas is inefficient as it is not recognized by the body.
  • According to the researchers, “ER stress” is the primary link between obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
  • The mechanism behind how obesity caused ER stress was unknown to the scientists until now.
  • The research study revealed that malfunction of the transcription factor called X-box binding protein 1 (XBP-1) causes ER stress in obese people.
  • Transcription factors are substances which remain attached to a particular location on the gene and help the gene in carrying out its functions.
  • XBP-1 fails to turn on the genes called chaperones in the cell nucleus.
  • The chaperones genes are required for proper functioning of the Endoplasmatic reticulum section in cells.
  • In this way, inactivity of these genes results in the condition of ER stress in obese people.
  • On discovering this mechanism, the researchers induced a substance free p85 in the liver of obese and severely diabetic mice and noticed a significant increase seen in the activity of the XBP-1 transcription factor and chaperone genes.
  • As a result the tolerance to glucose improved and the blood sugar levels got reduced.
  • The research study was primarily funded the National Institutes of Health.

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