January 3, 2006
Molecular Link Between Diet, Type 2 Diabetes DiscoveredTopics: Medical Science News
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have found a molecular connection between the high-fat Western-style diet and the disruption of insulin production. Their work indicates that a single enzyme, called GnT-4a, enables the beta cells in the pancreas to sense blood glucose levels and produce the appropriate amount of insulin.
In other words, their findings suggest that the current human epidemic in type 2 diabetes may be a result of GnT-4a enzyme deficiency (or lack of GnT-4a expression). Without GnT-4a or appropriate expression of GnT-4a, beta cells in the pancreas fail to produce insulin when exposed to glucose and fat.
Early in the disease, diabetes patients produce insufficient insulin that results in hyperglycemia, or elevated blood glucose. More than 200 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with the disease, 20 million in the United States alone. In fact, according to Jamey Marth, a professor of cellular and molecular medicine at UCSD, "likelihood that obesity will lead to diabetes is so common that this epidemic is sometimes referred to as 'diabesity." ,
High levels of insulin have also been implicated in contributing to other diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke. If further research confirms the findings, one possible clinical application would be the development of therapeutic agents that boost GnT-4a levels (or GnT-4a expression). Agents that inhibit GnT-4a may be useful in preventing a number of diseases inked to too much insulin production, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Companion post at Hyscience
Posted by Richard at January 3, 2006 7:47 PM
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