Insulin Is not the Solely Blood Sugar Regulator


By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 5, 2022 (HealthDay Information) — Scientists have identified 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 otherwise — they usually say it might be a brand new goal for treating diabetes.

The hormone, known 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.

Sort 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 injury.

Within the new research, scientists discovered FGF1 suppresses the breakdown of fats tissue, which reduces the liver’s capacity 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 the benefits of a parallel pathway,” mentioned research 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 manner you continue to have the management of [fat breakdown] and blood glucose regulation.”

Nevertheless, whether or not the animal findings will finally translate to folks with kind 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 research.

She mentioned it is also potential that concentrating on FGF1 might be efficient in sure folks with kind 2 diabetes, however not others.

“Sort 2 diabetes is a posh situation the place completely different people have completely 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 identified one thing concerning 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 research, printed Jan. 4 within the journal Cell Metabolism, delved into precisely how the hormone works.

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

FGF1 makes use of a unique enzyme — known as PDE4.

“Now that we have a brand new pathway, we are able to work out its function in vitality homeostasis within the physique and methods to manipulate it,” mentioned senior research writer Michael Downes, a workers scientist at Salk.

Gallagher mentioned it is “very attention-grabbing” that FGF1 can have insulin-like results in fats tissue. However way 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 folks,” Gallagher mentioned, “it could be necessary to know extra concerning the systemic results of administering FGF1, as FGF1 impacts many organ programs — together with the inflammatory system — and likewise can alter tumor progress.”

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

Extra info

The U.S. Nationwide Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Ailments has extra on kind 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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