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 primary 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, 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 special mechanism.

Sort 2 diabetes arises when the physique turns into proof against 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 problems 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 skill to churn out glucose. Insulin additionally does these issues, however FGF1 accomplishes it through a special “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,” stated examine writer Gencer Sancar, a postdoctoral researcher on the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif.

“In insulin resistance, insulin signaling is impaired,” Sancar stated in an institute information launch. “Nevertheless, with a special signaling cascade, if one shouldn’t be working, the opposite can. That means 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 kind 2 diabetes stays to be seen.

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

She stated it is also potential that focusing on FGF1 might be efficient in sure individuals 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 recognized 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 examine, 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 by way of an enzyme known as PDE3B, which units off a series of occasions known as a signaling pathway.

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

“Now that we have got a brand new pathway, we will work out its position in vitality homeostasis within the physique and how you can manipulate it,” stated senior examine writer Michael Downes, a workers scientist at Salk.

Gallagher stated 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 stated, is required to grasp the long-term results of FGF1 on insulin signaling and insulin resistance.

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

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

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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