Diabetes discovery could lead to more effective drugs

February 3, 2016
Diabetes discovery could lead to more effective drugs

The formation of type 2 diabetes is directly related to how our muscles convert sugar, a landmark new study has found.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne's Medical School at the Austin Hospital have used elegant gene splicing technology to prove this popular theory about the biological cause of Type 2 .

The work, published in Molecular Metabolism, is the first strong evidence that when muscles fail to convert into a substance called glycogen, it leads to the hallmarks of type 2 diabetes.

They hope the research will lead to development of a drug to that could convert glucose into glycogen when metabolism fails.

Chronic are associated with stroke, kidney failure, blindness and leg amputations. Most patients with diabetes die from heart attack or stroke. Yet researchers still know very little about the biological processes that lead to this condition.

Lead researcher on the project, University of Melbourne Associate Professor Sof Andrikopoulos, said the finding gives researchers a much better idea of where to target treatments for type 2 diabetes.

"We've known for decades the inability of muscle and fat to respond to insulin (known as insulin resistance) is a major mechanism that leads to high glucose levels in type 2 diabetes," Assoc Prof Andrikopoulos said.

"If you have , the sugar stays in your bloodstream. So the inability of the muscle to transport sugar into the muscle cell is what leads to higher ."

The researchers tested the theory with sophisticated gene technology. They effectively deleted the enzyme that makes glycogen from glucose from the muscle and watched what occurred.

"None of the drugs available at the moment treat the underlying cause of the disease.

"This provides us with more information about which pathways we should target to treat diabetes. Currently, we don't have any drugs that target this pathway.

"The study also explains why one of the reasons patients with diabetes don't exercise properly is that they may not have glycogen – if you improve your stores, you improve the ability to exercise."

Diabetes is linked to cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, mental illnesses and blindness. Currently, 1.7 million people live with diabetes. At the Austin, about one in three patients over 55 have diabetes.

Explore further: New diabetes risk mechanism identified

More information: Chrysovalantou E. Xirouchaki et al. Impaired glucose metabolism and exercise capacity with muscle-specific glycogen synthase 1 (gys1) deletion in adult mice, Molecular Metabolism (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.molmet.2016.01.004

Related Stories

New diabetes risk mechanism identified

November 12, 2015

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have discovered an unexpected effect from a gene known to increase diabetes risk. They assumed that the specific allele in the gene TCF7L2 which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, impairs insulin ...

Too much sugar? There's an enzyme for that

January 11, 2016

Guilt-free sugary treats may be on the horizon. Scientists at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) have discovered an enzyme that can stop the toxic effects of sugar in various organs of the body. ...

Women retain insulin sensitivity better than men

March 17, 2015

It's long been known that obese men are more likely to develop type two diabetes than obese women, but researchers at McMaster University have discovered it may be related to a difference between the sexes in the activity ...

What is pre-diabetes?

December 3, 2015

According to the American Diabetes Association, an estimated 86 million Americans age 20 and older have pre-diabetes. "If you've been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, it means your blood sugar levels are not high enough to be ...

Recommended for you

Low-carb diet may aid your metabolism

December 2, 2016

(HealthDay)—Eating low-carbohydrate meals may lead to healthy changes in a woman's metabolism that don't occur when consuming higher-carbohydrate meals, a small study suggests.

Research shows nerve growth protein controls blood sugar

November 14, 2016

Research led by a Johns Hopkins University biologist demonstrates the workings of a biochemical pathway that helps control glucose in the bloodstream, a development that could potentially lead to treatments for diabetes.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

wiggers
not rated yet Feb 04, 2016
"Chronic high glucose levels are associated with stroke, kidney failure, blindness and leg amputations."

So the obvious answer is to avoid the types of food that raise your blood glucose levels, i.e. carbohydrates.

"None of the drugs available at the moment treat the underlying cause of the disease."

There are very effective regimes that don't involve drugs:
http://www.dietdo...diabetes

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.