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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 important mechanism for controlling blood sugar levels, however researchers have now found a second hormone does the identical job a bit otherwise — and so they say it could possibly be a brand new goal for treating diabetes.

The hormone, known as FGF1, is produced within the physique's fat 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 distinct mechanism.

Type 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 issues like heart and kidney disease, stroke, vision issues and everlasting nerve damage.

Within the new examine, scientists discovered FGF1 suppresses the breakdown of fats tissue, which reduces the liver's means to churn out glucose. Insulin additionally does these issues, however FGF1 accomplishes it by way of a distinct "signaling pathway" within the physique.

And in lab mice with insulin resistance, injections of FGF1 considerably decrease blood sugar.

"This mechanism is principally a second loop, with all some great 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. "Nonetheless, with a distinct signaling cascade, if one will not be working, the opposite can. That manner you continue to have the management of [fat breakdown] and blood glucose regulation."

Nonetheless, whether or not the animal findings will finally translate to individuals with type 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's additionally doable that focusing on FGF1 could possibly be efficient in sure individuals with sort 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 College of Medication at Mount Sinai in New York Metropolis.

Scientists had recognized one thing in regards to the workings of FGF1. In previous research, the Salk researchers discovered that it lowered blood sugar in lab mice, and when given regularly it lessened insulin resistance within the animals.

The brand new examine, revealed Jan. 4 within the journal Cell Metabolism, delved into precisely how the hormone works.

The researchers discovered that, much like insulin, FGF1 suppresses fats breakdown, which in flip helps management blood sugar. However its modus operandi is completely different: Insulin acts via an enzyme known as PDE3B, which units off a series of occasions known as a signaling pathway.

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

"Now that we've obtained a brand new pathway, we are able to work out its position in power homeostasis within the physique and find out how to manipulate it," stated senior examine writer Michael Downes, a employees scientist at Salk.

Gallagher stated it's "very fascinating" that FGF1 can have insulin-like results in fats tissue. However rather more stays to be discovered.

Extra lab analysis, she stated, is required to know the long-term results of FGF1 on insulin signaling and insulin resistance.

"And in individuals," Gallagher stated, "it could be essential to know extra in regards to the systemic results of administering FGF1, as FGF1 impacts many organ programs — together with the inflammatory system — and likewise can alter tumor development."

Whether or not manipulating the hormone, or the proteins it regulates, can be acceptable in individuals with sort 2 diabetes "stays to be decided," Gallagher stated.

Extra data

The U.S. Nationwide Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Ailments has extra on type 2 diabetes.

SOURCES: Emily Gallagher, MD, PhD, assistant professor, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Ailments, Icahn College of Medication at Mount Sinai, New York Metropolis; Cell Metabolism, Jan. 4, 2022; Salk Institute, information launch, Jan. 4, 2022

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