An international research team with German participation including Helmholtz Zentrum München, among other institutions, has succeeded in identifying a new gene variant which is associated with elevated fasting glucose levels and a high risk for type 2 diabetes.
The gene mediates insulin secretion indirectly via the release of melatonin, which implicates a previously unknown relationship between the sleep-wake rhythm and the fasting glucose level. The finding could open up new possibilities of treatment which go far beyond the primarily symptomatic therapy approaches to diabetes that have been practised until now.
Diabetes mellitus and diabetes-associated late complications are among the most frequent chronic diseases and causes of death worldwide. In Germany there are approximately six million people with type 2 diabetes who are aware that they have the disease. In addition, there is a relatively high estimated number of undiagnosed diabetics. Besides lifestyle factors such as overweight and lack of exercise, genetic factors play an important role in the pathogenesis of this disease.
The study results were published in the January issue of Nature Genetics.
Germany is represented within the framework of the KORA studies by scientists of the Helmholtz Zentrum München (Assistant Professor Thomas Illig; Director of the KORA studies: Professor H.-Erich Wichmann) and the German Diabetes Center in Düsseldorf (Dr. Wolfgang Rathmann, Dr. Christian Herder; Direktor: Professor Michael Roden).
The MTNR1B gene is expressed in insulin-producing islet cells, among other cells, and encodes one of the two known melatonin receptors. It is assumed that this receptor inhibits the release of insulin via the neural hormone melatonin. The melatonin level in the body is high at night and declines in daylight, whereas the insulin level is higher during the day than in the night. Taken together, these new data implicate an association between the sleep-wake rhythm, the so-called circadian rhythm, and fasting glucose levels, which was not known previously.
Until now an efficient strategy for prevention and for therapies to treat the cause of the disease has been missing in diabetes research. The Helmholtz Zentrum München is working intensively on new approaches in the study and treatment of diabetes. Further studies will show which role melatonin plays in the regulation of insulin secretion, fasting glucose levels and the development of diabetes and whether this finding will lead to new treatment options.
Michael van den Heuvel | alfa
Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital
Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
28.10.2016 | Life Sciences