Researchers Discover New Gene that Encodes for Diabetes Resistance, as Reported by DiabeticLive.com
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have identified a gene that may be responsible for determining an individual's susceptibility to both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, as reported by DiabeticLive.com.
Orlando, FL (PRWEB) October 10, 2011
Researchers Discover New Gene that Encodes for Diabetes Resistance: Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have identified a gene that may be responsible for determining an individual’s susceptibility to both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The study, which lasted over a decade, identified a gene in obese mice that controls a protein called tomosyn-2 â€” a compound responsible for decreased insulin production in pancreatic beta cells.
When insulin production in the pancreas is reduced diabetes can follow. Insulin is released into the bloodstream where it allows cells to absorb sugar and use it for energy. Individuals with Type 1 diabetes are insulin-deficient while those with Type 2 diabetes are insulin-resistant. Both forms of the disease cause significant complications, especially if it goes unmanaged.
The newly-discovered gene was found to affect insulin production in obese mice by reducing the activity of the protein tomosyn-2. While the gene can be controlled in mice, researchers will need to conduct further studies to determine whether medications that target the protein can be developed for humans.
“It’s too early for us to know how relevant this gene will be to human diabetes, but the concept of negative regulation is one of the most interesting things to come out of this study and that very likely applies to humans,” says Alan Attie, head of the study and biochemistry professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The research team specifically used obese mice because they need more insulin to normalize blood glucose levels, especially after a meal, and humans have similar insulin needs. Being overweight requires more insulin to simply keep blood sugar levels regulated.
“If you can produce that extra insulin – and most people do – you’ll be okay,” said Attie. “You will avoid diabetes at the expense of having to produce and maintain a higher insulin level.”
However, increasing rates of obesity mean that more and more people are unable to produce enough insulin to meet their metabolic needs, resulting in more cases of diabetes.
“Most of the type 2 diabetes that occurs in humans today would not exist were it not for the obesity epidemic,” said Attie.
Attie’s team discovered that one amino acid accounted for an important difference in the test mice â€” whether they were diabetes-susceptible or diabetes-resistant. Mice which were diabetes-resistant were able to produce more insulin to meet the increased needs associated with obesity.
Sushant Bhatnagar, who served as co-lead author, said: “This study shows the power of genetics to discover new mechanisms for a complex disease like type 2 diabetes.”
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For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prwebDiabetes/Resistance-Gene/prweb8864046.htm