Muscling in on type 2 diabetes

February 26, 2009,

Research by kinesiology investigator Dustin Hittel, PhD, has proven that muscle in extremely obese individuals produces large amounts of a protein called myostatin, which normally inhibits muscle growth--suggesting that for Type 2 diabetics, and the very obese, the task of getting healthy may be more difficult than initially thought.

It has been known for some years that naturally occurring mutations in the gene which controls myostatin results in double—muscling in cattle, dogs and even humans. Many in the body building community believe that blocking myostatin is a shortcut to the Arnold Schwarzenegger body.

The flipside is that producing too much myostatin has been linked with muscle wasting conditions such as HIV-AIDS, starvation and now, Type 2 diabetes.

Hittel believes this may be due to a pre-diabetic condition known as insulin resistance that "tricks" the muscles into thinking the body is starving despite the fact that blood sugar levels are skyrocketing.

"When that happens, the body reverses muscle production using myostatin," says Hittel. "This is particularly worrisome because losing muscle mass further erodes your ability to control your blood sugar with exercise."

One of the tell-tale signs of the transition between insulin resistance and full-blown Type 2 diabetes is a loss of muscle mass.

"Losing muscle mass makes sense from an evolutionary perspective since having large muscles during famine puts you at a serious risk for starvation," explains Hittel. "Unfortunately, this survival mechanism has left us ill-equipped to deal with a Western lifestyle—lots of calories, little exercise—and it has laid the groundwork for the current epidemic of Type 2 diabetes."

"The goal of my research is to understand how obesity, diet and exercise influence our metabolism and interact with our genome. This research sheds some light on an important part of the puzzle."

More information: This article can be found in the January 2009 edition of the scientific journal Diabetes. (diabetes.diabetesjournals.org.)

Source: University of Calgary

Explore further: From comfort to high-tech: Food a serious quest at Olympics

Related Stories

From comfort to high-tech: Food a serious quest at Olympics

February 15, 2018
First, U.S. snowboarding star Chloe Kim tweeted about being "down for some ice cream" while competing in Pyeongchang, then about being "hangry" because she hadn't finished her breakfast sandwich.

Muscle more important than fat in regulating heat loss from the hands

February 14, 2018
In the first study of its kind, Cambridge biological anthropologists have shown that muscle mass is able to predict the rate of heat loss from the hands during severe cold exposure, while body mass, stature and fat mass do ...

Everyday activities associated with more gray matter in brains of older adults

February 14, 2018
Higher levels of lifestyle physical activity - such as house cleaning, walking a dog and gardening, as well as exercise - are associated with more gray matter in the brains of older adults, according to a study by researchers ...

I'm not overweight, so why do I need to eat healthy foods?

February 12, 2018
We all have that one friend whose eating habits and body shape simply don't add up. While enjoying the unhealthiest of meals and a sedentary lifestyle, somehow they effortlessly retain a slender figure.

From black hat to white hat: Findings tip assumptions about TAK1 in muscle growth

February 8, 2018
Among researchers exploring the mechanisms of muscle growth and health, there have been certain conceptions about the role of the signaling protein, transforming growth factor-ß-activated kinase 1 (TAK1). Convention was ...

High-tech imaging could reveal mysteries of bone damage in kids with chronic disease

January 23, 2018
Kyla Kent had just finished conducting CT scans of bones in a 10-year-old boy's forearm and lower leg. Walking him back to the waiting room, she asked how he wanted to explain the images to his mom.

Recommended for you

Past encounters with the flu shape vaccine response

February 20, 2018
New research on why the influenza vaccine was only modestly effective in recent years shows that immune history with the flu influences a person's response to the vaccine.

Building better tiny kidneys to test drugs and help people avoid dialysis

February 16, 2018
A free online kidney atlas built by USC researchers empowers stem cell scientists everywhere to generate more human-like tiny kidneys for testing new drugs and creating renal replacement therapies.

Expanding Hepatitis C testing to all adults is cost-effective and improves outcomes

February 16, 2018
According to a new study, screening all adults for hepatitis C (HCV) is a cost-effective way to improve clinical outcomes of HCV and identify more infected people compared to current recommendations. Using a simulation model, ...

Study suggests expanded range for emerging tick-borne disease

February 16, 2018
Human cases of Borrelia miyamotoi, a tick-borne infection with some similarities to Lyme disease, were discovered in the eastern United States less than a decade ago. Now new research led by the Yale School of Public Health ...

Flu shot only 36 percent effective, making bad year worse (Update)

February 15, 2018
The flu vaccine is doing a poor job protecting older Americans and others against the bug that's causing most illnesses.

IFN-mediated immunity to influenza A virus infection influenced by RIPK3 protein

February 15, 2018
Each year, influenza kills half a million people globally with the elderly and very young most often the victims. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 37 children have died in the United States ...

0 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.