How Insulin Resistance Takes Place in the Brain of Type 2 Diabetic Patients

Insulin is the hormone which controls the blood sugar levels in the body. It also prevents the release of stored glucose from the liver. It is released by the cells of pancreas. But all cells in the body do not respond to this hormone in the same way. This condition is called Insulin resistance. In May 2008, researchers at the University of Cologne, Germany for the first time found out how Insulin resistance takes place in the brain. This article tries to gain further insight on this topic.

What the Research Study Involved ?

The region of the brain which is sensitive to insulin hormone is called the Hypothalamus. Researchers wanted to understand the response of this section of the brain to insulin. They carried out tests on experimental mice. As part of the research study, these mice were fed high fat diet.

What were the Observations Made?

  • It was observed that the ability of insulin hormone to prevent stored glucose in the liver decreased.
  • There was decrease in the insulin-induced signalling process.

What could the Reason behind these Observations?

The researchers believed that an increase in activation of a protein called S6K in the hypothalamus lead to these observations in mice. The relation between activation of this protein and the inability of insulin in preventing glucose release was confirmed in two ways. When the protein S6K was forcefully inserted in the hypothalamus, same results as the high-fat diet were observed. Moreover, when this was directly blocked, the lost ability of the insulin hormone was restored.

What was the Final Conclusion Drawn?

Observations convinced the researchers to believe that inhibiting S6k in the hypothalamus can prevent insulin resistance in brain caused by diet.

Significance of this Research: Last year the United States government has to declare Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes as national epidemics. Having an unhealthy diet coupled with lack of exercise and leading a sedentary life style are the root cause of this undesirable situation in American society. With the knowledge gained from this research, scientists can now develop drugs which can target S6K protein in order curb diabetes effectively.

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