How fatty food triggers diabetes
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
London - For the first time, scientists have discovered how fatty
food trips a genetic switch in the body that can trigger diabetes, a
finding they say could lead to a potential cure for the disease.
In studies on mice and humans, a team of researchers at the Sanford-
Burnham Medical Research Institute in the US found that high-levels
of fat disrupted two key proteins that turn genes on and off.
The "transcription factors" FOXA2 and HNF1A activate a pancreatic
enzyme that in healthy people prevents diabetes developing, the Daily
When the proteins stop working, the enzyme is shut down, which in
turn upsets the ability of insulin-secreting beta cells in the
pancreas to monitor blood sugar levels.
Without this glucose sugar-sensing mechanism, blood sugar cannot be
The discovery, published in the journal Nature Medicine, helps
explain why Type 2 diabetes is so often linked to obesity and it
could also lead to a potential cure for the condition, the
Study leader Dr Jamey Marth said, "Now that we know more fully how
states of over-nutrition can lead to Type 2 diabetes, we can see more
clearly how to intervene.
"The identification of the molecular players in this pathway to
diabetes suggests new therapeutic targets and approaches towards
developing an effective preventative or perhaps curative treatment.
"This may be accomplished by beta cell gene therapy or by drugs that
interfere with this pathway in order to maintain normal beta cell
Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
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