A detectable decline in energy production by mitochondria — the organelles that are the cells furnace for energy production — seems to be a key problem leading to insulin resistance, and thus to type 2 diabetes, according to studies by Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers.
The research team said that insulin resistance — an impaired response to the presence of insulin — is detectable as early as 20 years before the symptoms of diabetes become evident. In fact, insulin resistance is now seen as the best predictor that type 2 diabetes will eventually develop, said the studys senior author, Gerald I. Shulman, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the Yale University School of Medicine.
In the new study examining how insulin interacts with the energy-producing mitochondria inside living cells, Shulman and his colleagues found that the rate of insulin-stimulated energy production by mitochondria is significantly reduced in the muscles of lean, healthy young adults who have already developed insulin resistance and who are at increased risk of developing diabetes later in life.
Jim Keeley | EurekAlert!
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