It is known that women with PCOS have a 3-fold increase in their risk of developing type-2 diabetes, where the body does not produce enough insulin or cannot use insulin properly. Insulin resistance is an important factor in the condition, which is the most common female hormone disorder. PCOS affects between 5 and 10 per cent of women and is a major cause of infertility.
The new £97K project aims to identify a defective point on the insulin signalling pathway in women with PCOS. The researchers, from Imperial College London, hope this will enable the development of new therapies which target this part of the pathway, to counter the insulin resistance and the fertility problems that PCOS can cause.
Insulin is released from cells in the pancreas after eating and it signals insulin-sensitive tissues (such as fat and muscle) to take up glucose, keeping glucose levels in the bloodstream normal. In people with insulin resistance, normal amounts of insulin are not adequate to produce a normal glucose response, meaning that levels of insulin in the bloodstream need to be higher to achieve normal blood sugar levels.
Insulin resistance (and/or the compensatory excess of insulin in the bloodstream), may contribute to abnormalities in function of the ovaries that lead to many of the symptoms of PCOS. These include irregular periods, or no periods at all; fertility problems; weight gain; acne; and excessive hair growth (hirsutism).
A longer term concern is that insulin resistance also predisposes people to diabetes. In some patients the pancreas is unable, in the long-term, to produce enough insulin to compensate for the resistance of the tissues to insulin action. Consequently, blood sugar levels rise. What is not known is why PCOS and insulin resistance are so closely related.
The researchers hope that the new project will explain the link between PCOS and insulin resistance and how the link manifests itself at the level of individual cells.
The researchers will be looking at how ovarian cells metabolise glucose in women both with and without PCOS.
Professor Stephen Franks said: "PCOS gives rise to a range of symptoms. These may be very distressing not only because of problems with irregular periods and with fertility but also because of excess body hair, acne or alopecia. We still do not fully understand the underlying cause or causes of PCOS but insulin resistance plays an important part in many patients.
"These studies will give us the chance to look directly at the mechanism of insulin resistance at the level of an important target tissue – the ovary. We expect the results of these studies to give us information that will help to devise new and more effective methods of treatment for this very common hormone problem," he added.
Laura Gallagher | EurekAlert!
Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center
The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
12.12.2017 | Life Sciences