Scientists found a new way to regulate blood sugar levels

Scientists from Europe and the United States have found a hormone that can be used to regulate blood glucose levels independently of insulin. The authors hope that their discovery will lay the foundation for new methods of diabetes treatment and allow the creation of drugs for effective and safe sugar reduction in people with insulin resistance. The findings are published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

The discovery of insulin a century ago gave hope to millions of people with diabetes. Since then, this pancreatic hormone, has been considered the primary treatment for conditions characterized by elevated blood sugar levels, such as diabetes.

Now researchers from the U.S. Solk Institute, along with colleagues from Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, have discovered another substance produced in adipose tissue that regulates blood glucose levels as effectively and quickly as insulin: the hormone FGF1. Like insulin, FGF1 controls blood glucose levels by inhibiting fat breakdown, lipolysis, but uses a different molecular mechanism to do so.

"The discovery of a second hormone that suppresses lipolysis and lowers glucose levels is a scientific breakthrough," Professor Ronald Evans, head of the study, is quoted as saying in a press release from the Salk Institute. - We have identified a new player that will help us understand how the body regulates energy stores."

Energy-rich fats and glucose enter the bloodstream with food. Normally, insulin delivers these nutrients to muscle and adipose tissue cells, where they are either used immediately or stored for later use. In people with insulin resistance, glucose is not efficiently removed from the blood, and high lipolysis increases fatty acid levels. These extra fatty acids trigger glucose production in the liver, increasing already high glucose levels. In addition, by accumulating in the organs, fatty acids exacerbate the insulin resistance characteristic of diabetes and obesity.

Previously, scientists from the Salk Institute found that administration of FGF1 dramatically lowers blood glucose levels in mice and that long-term treatment with this hormone reduces insulin resistance, but the molecular mechanism of the process remained a mystery.

Now the authors have discovered that FGF1, like insulin, suppresses lipolysis and regulates glucose production in the liver, but uses a different signaling pathway.

"It's essentially a second, parallel pathway with all its advantages," says first author Gencer Sancar of Professor Evans' lab. - In insulin resistance, insulin signaling is impaired. However, another signaling pathway can work. Thus, control over lipolysis and blood glucose level regulation is maintained".

The authors hope that the discovery of a new enzyme with its own signaling pathway opens up opportunities for new drugs and basic research.


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