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 Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

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: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>