Researchers find new pathway connected to type 2 diabetes

March 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 the onset of Type 2 diabetes. The discovery published this month in a leading journal Nature Cell Biology.

Following a meal, found in islets of the pancreas secrete insulin that helps to store food energy for future use. The inability of islet beta cells to produce enough insulin leads to diabetes. Unlike other research that has focused on how to replicate beta cells, this study focused on how to make pre-existing beta cells more functional, or better at secreting insulin.

The research team, led by Canada Research Chair Dr. Robert Screaton, senior scientist at the CHEO Research Institute and associate professor at the University of Ottawa, started with a gene "knockout" strategy to remove a protein called SIK2 from all beta cells. They found that mice without SIK2 secrete less insulin during feeding because they fail to turn off a switch protein called p35, which prevents when are low. The team also found that SIK2 works together with the protein PJA2 to turn off p35.

"We were very excited when we found obese animals had three times the amount of SIK2 in their beta cells, meaning they were working harder to compensate for by turning up SIK2," said Dr. Screaton. "Diabetic mice have lost this ability to turn up SIK2 and compensation is lost. The SIK2-p35-PJA2 pathway provides us with new targets to try and improve beta cell functionality to prevent and treat Type 2 diabetes."

Explore further: Loss of function of a single gene linked to diabetes in mice

More information: www.nature.com/ncb/journal/v16 … n3/full/ncb2919.html

Related Stories

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

January 4, 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 ...

Cellular alchemy: How to make insulin-producing cells from gut cells

March 11, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas is at the heart of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. "We are looking for ways to make new beta cells for these patients to one day replace daily insulin ...

Targeting a cell cycle inhibitor promotes beta cell replication

January 16, 2014
Researchers replicated human pancreatic beta cells—which produce insulin—in a mouse model in which donor cells were transplanted. The newly replicated cells retained features of mature beta cells and showed a physiological ...

Study identifies immune cells that promote growth of beta cells in type 1 diabetes

September 27, 2013
Joslin researchers have identified immune cells that promote growth of beta cells in type 1 diabetes. This study provides further evidence of a changed role for immune cells in type 1 diabetes pathology. The study appears ...

Newly discovered human peptide may become a new treatment for diabetes

December 2, 2013
Even if the obesity trend cannot be reversed, here's hope that it's partner in crime—diabetes—might be thwarted. New research published in the December 2013 issue of The FASEB Journal shows how a recently discovered human ...

Recommended for you

Want to win at sports? Take a cue from these mighty mice

July 20, 2017
As student athletes hit training fields this summer to gain the competitive edge, a new study shows how the experiences of a tiny mouse can put them on the path to winning.

'Smart' robot technology could give stroke rehab a boost

July 19, 2017
Scientists say they have developed a "smart" robotic harness that might make it easier for people to learn to walk again after a stroke or spinal cord injury.

Engineered liver tissue expands after transplant

July 19, 2017
Many diseases, including cirrhosis and hepatitis, can lead to liver failure. More than 17,000 Americans suffering from these diseases are now waiting for liver transplants, but significantly fewer livers are available.

Lunatic Fringe gene plays key role in the renewable brain

July 19, 2017
The discovery that the brain can generate new cells - about 700 new neurons each day - has triggered investigations to uncover how this process is regulated. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Jan and Dan Duncan ...

New animal models for hepatitis C could pave the way for a vaccine

July 19, 2017
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the case of hepatitis C—a disease that affects nearly 71 million people worldwide, causing cirrhosis and liver cancer if left untreated—it might be worth ...

Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation via cannabinoids

July 18, 2017
Chemical compounds called cannabinoids are found in marijuana and also are produced naturally in the body from omega-3 fatty acids. A well-known cannabinoid in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, is responsible for some of its ...

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.