Insulin Isn't the Only Blood Sugar Regulator

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By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 5, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists person known for 100 years that insulin is the body's main mechanics for controlling blood sweetener levels, but researchers person present discovered a 2nd hormone does the aforesaid occupation a spot otherwise -- and they accidental it could beryllium a caller people for treating diabetes.

The hormone, called FGF1, is produced successful the body's fat tissue. Like insulin, it swiftly lowers sweetener levels successful the blood, but researchers recovered successful mice that it works independently of insulin, and by a antithetic mechanism.

Type 2 diabetes arises erstwhile the assemblage becomes resistant to insulin, starring to chronically precocious humor levels of glucose (sugar). Over time, that tin instrumentality a toll connected the body's arteries and nerves, starring to complications similar heart and kidney disease, stroke, vision problems and imperishable nerve damage.

In the caller study, scientists recovered FGF1 suppresses the breakdown of abdominous tissue, which reduces the liver's quality to churn retired glucose. Insulin besides does those things, but FGF1 accomplishes it via a antithetic "signaling pathway" successful the body.

And successful laboratory mice with insulin resistance, injections of FGF1 substantially little humor sugar.

"This mechanics is fundamentally a 2nd loop, with each the advantages of a parallel pathway," said survey writer Gencer Sancar, a postdoctoral researcher astatine the Salk Institute successful La Jolla, Calif.

"In insulin resistance, insulin signaling is impaired," Sancar said successful an institute quality release. "However, with a antithetic signaling cascade, if 1 is not working, the different can. That mode you inactive person the power of [fat breakdown] and humor glucose regulation."

However, whether the carnal findings volition yet construe to radical with type 2 diabetes remains to beryllium seen.

One question is whether radical who are insulin-resistant would besides beryllium resistant to FGF1, noted Dr. Emily Gallagher, an endocrinologist who was not progressive successful the study.

She said it's besides imaginable that targeting FGF1 could beryllium effectual successful definite radical with benignant 2 diabetes, but not others.

"Type 2 diabetes is simply a analyzable information wherever antithetic individuals person antithetic metabolic profiles," explained Gallagher, an adjunct prof successful the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Diseases astatine the Icahn School of Medicine astatine Mount Sinai successful New York City.

Scientists had known thing astir the workings of FGF1. In past studies, the Salk researchers recovered that it lowered humor sweetener successful laboratory mice, and erstwhile fixed continually it lessened insulin absorption successful the animals.

The caller study, published Jan. 4 successful the diary Cell Metabolism, delved into precisely however the hormone works.

The researchers recovered that, akin to insulin, FGF1 suppresses abdominous breakdown, which successful crook helps power humor sugar. But its modus operandi is different: Insulin acts done an enzyme called PDE3B, which sets disconnected a concatenation of events called a signaling pathway.

FGF1 uses a antithetic enzyme -- called PDE4.

"Now that we've got a caller pathway, we tin fig retired its relation successful vigor homeostasis successful the assemblage and however to manipulate it," said elder survey writer Michael Downes, a unit idiosyncratic astatine Salk.

Gallagher said it's "very interesting" that FGF1 tin person insulin-like effects successful abdominous tissue. But overmuch much remains to beryllium learned.

More laboratory research, she said, is needed to recognize the semipermanent effects of FGF1 connected insulin signaling and insulin resistance.

"And successful people," Gallagher said, "it would beryllium important to recognize much astir the systemic effects of administering FGF1, arsenic FGF1 affects galore organ systems -- including the inflammatory strategy -- and besides tin change tumor growth."

Whether manipulating the hormone, oregon the proteins it regulates, would beryllium due successful radical with benignant 2 diabetes "remains to beryllium determined," Gallagher said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has much connected type 2 diabetes.

SOURCES: Emily Gallagher, MD, PhD, adjunct professor, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Diseases, Icahn School of Medicine astatine Mount Sinai, New York City; Cell Metabolism, Jan. 4, 2022; Salk Institute, quality release, Jan. 4, 2022

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