Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Micro-RNA blocks the effect of insulin in obesity

Body weight influences the risk of developing diabetes: between 80 and 90 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.

According to scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research in Cologne and the Cologne Cluster of Excellence in Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-associated Diseases (CECAD), short ribonucleic acid molecules, known as micro-RNAs, appear to play an important role in this mechanism.

The researchers discovered that the obese mice form increased levels of the regulatory RNA molecule miRNA-143. miRNA-143 inhibits the insulin-stimulated activation of the enzyme AKT. Without active AKT, insulin cannot unfold its blood-sugar-reducing effect and the blood sugar level is thrown out of kilter. This newly discovered mechanism could provide the starting point for the development of new drugs for the treatment of diabetes.

The hormone insulin plays a key role in the regulation of blood sugar levels. If there is too much glucose in the blood, insulin opens the glucose transport channels in the cell membrane of muscles and fat cells. Glucose then reaches the body's cells and the blood's sugar content sinks. Additionally, the insulin inhibits the production of new sugar in the liver. Type 2 diabetics are able to produce sufficient volumes of insulin; however, their cells are resistant to it - and the hormone is unable to fulfil its task. If untreated, this disease damages the blood vessels due to the raised blood sugar levels, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

The molecular processes in the body's cells responsible for the connection between body weight and diabetes are largely unknown. However, in all tissues that respond to insulin, Micro-RNAs can be found. The Cologne-based scientists working with Jens Brüning, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research and scientific coordinator of the Cologne Cluster of Excellence in Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-associated Diseases at the University of Cologne assume, therefore, that micro-RNAs may also play a role in type 2 diabetes. These short ribonucleic acid molecules can regulate the activity of genes and thus control protein production.

The research group in Cologne has now discovered a new mechanism that leads to insulin resistance of the cells. Accordingly, obese mice form excess miRNA-143 in their livers. This RNA molecule silences genes that are responsible for the activation of the enzyme AKT and therefore inhibits insulin from activating AKT. "AKT is important for glucose transport in the cell and for the inhibition of glucose synthesis in the liver. When the enzyme is inhibited, insulin fails to take effect and the blood sugar remains elevated," explains Jens Brüning.

For their research study, the researchers compared normal weight mice with obese mice with type 2 diabetes. They discovered that the diseased animals produce more than twice as much miRNA-143 in their livers than the normal ones. Moreover, the researchers found only a low concentration of the protein ORP8 in the obese mice which formed large quantities of miRNA-143. ORP8 stimulates insulin to activate AKT and therefore reduces the sugar content of the blood. If ORP8 is lacking, insulin is unable to take effect and the AKT remains inactive.

The researchers do not yet know why obese mice form more miRNA-143 than their normal weight counterparts. "If we succeed in explaining the signalling paths in the cell that lead to the production of miRNA-143, we will have a starting point for the development of new drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes," explains Jens Brüning in reference to future research plans.

Dr. Cornelia Weigelt | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Enormous dome in central Andes driven by huge magma body beneath it

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Deep down fracking wells, microbial communities thrive

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>