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 | alfa
Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed
18.01.2017 | American Chemical Society
127 at one blow...
18.01.2017 | Stiftung Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences