Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Insulin pathway component explains insulin resistance, age-associated metabolic syndrome

09.08.2006
Fly genetics reveal key workings of Atkins Diet

Metabolic syndrome, an aging-associated group of disorders that includes insulin resistance, heart disease and high lipid levels, may be treatable thanks to a newly discovered role for a regulatory gene, according to a team of scientists at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research.

In addition, the scientists found that this single gene may contribute to the body's responses to caloric restriction and may explain some aspects of the Atkins Diet.

The gene's new function was discovered in Drosophila fruit flies; previously it was associated solely with the control of growth. Until now, how the gene regulates insulin, as well as other symptoms of metabolic syndrome, was largely unknown. The study was conducted by Sean Oldham, Ph.D., assistant professor, and his colleagues at the Burnham and the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse. Oldham's findings appear in the journal Cell Metabolism to be released on August 8th.

Using fruit flies bred with a newly created mutant form of the gene TOR (short for target of rapamycin), Oldham and his colleagues were able to determine how the TOR pathway interacted with other important regulators of insulin, glucose and lipid metabolism.

TOR is an ancient gene, found in nearly all animal and plant cells. The researchers discovered that their new mutant fly reduced TOR function, allowing them to observe what happens when TOR's influence is removed.

Reductions in TOR function lowered glucose and lipid levels in the body. They also blocked the function of another important insulin regulator, a factor called FOXO, which is known to be a critical mediator of insulin signals and therefore glucose and lipid metabolism. In addition, flies with the mutated form of TOR had longer life spans than control flies.

"It has been unclear how TOR signaling affects the insulin pathway," said Oldham. "Our study adds another dimension to TOR's activity by revealing unexpected and novel levels of beneficial regulation of insulin metabolism, by reducing insulin resistance. This study provides the first details of how TOR may regulate energy homeostasis and responses to aging, in particular the coordination of weight reduction effects caused by caloric restriction and, in humans, it may explain the effects of the Atkins diet. It suggests that reducing TOR function could lead to a possible treatment for any or all symptoms of metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance."

Oldham's group, in collaboration with Dr. Rolf Bodmer at Burnham, showed that reducing TOR function also blocks the age-dependent decline of heart function, providing a partial explanation for why excess calories from overeating can lead to resistance to insulin's ability to process sugars and may contribute to reduced heart function.

Dr. Oldham and his colleagues are continuing their search to understand how TOR mediates caloric restriction, aging and other effects on insulin signaling and metabolism. They want to understand TOR's role in the relationship between growth, metabolism and aging, both in healthy individuals and individuals with metabolic diseases. The researchers also are screening possible drugs that could treat metabolic syndrome by reducing TOR function.

"This study provides the first direct evidence that reducing TOR function could be clinically beneficial to counter insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and diabetes," said Oldham. "We believe further studies on fruit flies are invaluable to discovering more details about this pathway, and will give us indispensable insight into pathological aspects of aging and senescence."

Nancy Beddingfield | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.burnham.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht World first: Massive thrombosis removed during early pregnancy
20.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Therapy of preterm birth in sight?
19.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>