Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


UVa Researchers Show that a Natural Carbohydrate can Help Lower Blood Sugar


A carbohydrate isolated from the liver lowers blood sugar levels after it is injected into diabetic rats, according to research carried out by a team of experts at the University of Virginia Health System. The UVa team believes this compound, called D-chiro-Inositol-Galactosamine, or INS2, acts as a messenger inside cells to switch on enzymes that regulate blood sugar, taking glucose from the bloodstream into the liver and muscles where it is stored. INS2 is naturally occurring in the body and is found in human blood.

Their findings are published in the Oct. 4, 2005 issue of the journal Biochemistry and could lead to new drugs to treat type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease. In type 2, the blood has normal or high levels of the insulin, but the liver and muscles don’t respond well to the hormone. As a result, blood sugar stays high, causing health problems. Diabetes is a known risk factor for nerve and kidney damage, stroke, heart disease and blindness, among other complications. Some scientists think that the complications are due to modifications in certain proteins and in how genes respond to insulin.

“We believe this molecule works by sending a message inside the cell to respond to insulin, which helps cells dispose of excess glucose,” said Joseph Larner, MD, PhD, professor emeritus at UVa and former chairman of the department of pharmacology, who has been studying the molecule for nearly two decades.

Larner and his colleagues isolated INS2 from cow livers, determined its chemical structure, synthesized it, then injected the compound into diabetic rats, with blood sugar levels at or above 500 milligrams per deciliter. The rats were then injected with insulin. Diabetes researchers at UVa were pleased that the more compound they injected, the more blood sugar decreased in the animals. “This compound is dose dependent and active. It potentiates the action of insulin,” explained David Brautigan, PhD, director of the Center for Cell Signaling at UVa.

Larner and Brautigan are part of a multi-disciplinary team at UVa that includes chemist Milton Brown and structural biologist John Bushweller. Using computer modeling, they docked the INS2 compound onto an enzyme in cells called PP2C. If INS2 could activate PP2C, it would trigger other events in cells activated by insulin.

“INS2 was added and the purified PP2C enzyme was activated,” Brautigan said. “When we changed one amino acid in PP2C that the modeling predicted was the site for INS2, then the activation by INS2 was absent. In that way the enzyme assay confirmed the model.” The UVa group has been working to define the action of INS2 in hopes that it will potentially help millions of diabetics worldwide. A 3D image of the molecule graces the cover of Biochemistry’s Oct. 4th issue.

Brautigan, D.L. et al. (2005) Biochemistry 44, 11067-11073

Bob Beard | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Aquaculture: Clear Water Thanks to Cork
28.10.2016 | Technologie Lizenz-Büro (TLB) der Baden-Württembergischen Hochschulen GmbH

nachricht Bioluminescent sensor causes brain cells to glow in the dark
28.10.2016 | Vanderbilt University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

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...

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

Steering a fusion plasma toward stability

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Bioluminescent sensor causes brain cells to glow in the dark

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Activation of 2 genes linked to development of atherosclerosis

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>