Factor present in gestational and type 2 diabetes could provide new treatment options

Blood glucose monitoring. Credit: Wikipedia

New research reveals that both pregnant women with diabetes and with type 2 diabetics have high levels of a fat metabolite that impairs pancreatic cells from secreting insulin. The findings, which are published in the April 1 issue of the Cell Press journal Cell Metabolism, suggest that blocking the effects of this fat metabolite may help prevent and treat diabetes.

In nearly one-fifth of pregnancies, can arise (called ), and when this happens, it puts the woman at an increased risk for developing later in life. To gain better insights into the shared mechanisms behind these two types of diabetes, researchers in Dr. Michael Wheeler's lab at the University of Toronto examined more than 340 molecules in blood samples from individuals with gestational diabetes, individuals with type 2 diabetes, and individuals without diabetes. The researchers used a metabolomics approach, which involves the study of chemical processes involving metabolites.

The team found that the blood of both gestational and type 2 diabetic patients contained a remarkable number of changed metabolites, including sugars, amino acids, and fats, compared with samples from nondiabetic controls. One particular fat metabolite, called CMPF, was dramatically increased in both gestational and type 2 diabetic individuals compared to those without diabetes. Experiments in mice showed that this increased concentration of CMPF caused a decrease in insulin secretion from beta cells in the pancreas, which led to the development of diabetes.

More detailed mechanistic experiments revealed that CMPF enters a beta cell through what's called organic anion transporter 3 (OAT3), and once inside the cell it causes oxidative stress and other negative effects. Next, the researchers found that the effects of CMPF could be prevented through either blocking the transport of CMPF into insulin-producing beta cells or treatment with antioxidants.

"Based on our findings we believe that CMPF and its transporter OAT3 represent novel targets for prevention and treatment of diabetes," says first author Kacey Prentice. "If we can reduce levels of CMPF in the blood, or prevent CMPF from entering the beta cell through blockage of OAT3, we believe that we can preserve beta cell function and prevent the beta cell failure that ultimately causes diabetes."

According to Prentice, it is important to note that the treatment of gestational diabetes is a very sensitive topic due to potential risks to both the mother and the developing fetus. "Due to this, we believe the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes is a more realistic and widely acceptable goal; however, CMPF has great potential for use as a biomarker of both conditions."

More information: Prentice et al.: "CMPF is Elevated in Diabetes and Induces Beta Cell Dysfunction." Cell Metabolism, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2014.03.008

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers find new pathway connected to type 2 diabetes

Mar 19, 2014

Scientists at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute have discovered a cellular pathway that is responsible for keeping blood sugar levels low in obese or pre-diabetic people, and may prevent ...

Loss of function of a single gene linked to diabetes in mice

Jan 04, 2014

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have found that dysfunction in a single gene in mice causes fasting hyperglycemia, one of the major symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Their findings were ...

The role of beta cell regeneration in type 2 diabetes

Oct 10, 2012

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared type 2 diabetes as the epidemic of the 21st century. A study is focusing on understanding the mechanisms underlying insulin resistance and the role of beta-cell ...

Recommended for you

Diabetes and Thanksgiving can live in harmony

8 hours ago

As you may know, November is National Diabetes Month. If you, a loved one, or a Thanksgiving guest have diabetes or prediabetes, this column is dedicated to you, as you may be wondering how to enjoy one of the most food-laden ...

Does a yogurt a day keep diabetes away?

21 hours ago

A high intake of yogurt has been found to be associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to research published in open access journal BMC Medicine. This highlights the importance of hav ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.