A carbohydrate isolated from the liver lowers blood sugar levels after it is injected into diabetic rats, according to research carried out by a team of experts at the University of Virginia Health System. The UVa team believes this compound, called D-chiro-Inositol-Galactosamine, or INS2, acts as a messenger inside cells to switch on enzymes that regulate blood sugar, taking glucose from the bloodstream into the liver and muscles where it is stored. INS2 is naturally occurring in the body and is found in human blood.
Their findings are published in the Oct. 4, 2005 issue of the journal Biochemistry and could lead to new drugs to treat type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease. In type 2, the blood has normal or high levels of the insulin, but the liver and muscles don’t respond well to the hormone. As a result, blood sugar stays high, causing health problems. Diabetes is a known risk factor for nerve and kidney damage, stroke, heart disease and blindness, among other complications. Some scientists think that the complications are due to modifications in certain proteins and in how genes respond to insulin.
“We believe this molecule works by sending a message inside the cell to respond to insulin, which helps cells dispose of excess glucose,” said Joseph Larner, MD, PhD, professor emeritus at UVa and former chairman of the department of pharmacology, who has been studying the molecule for nearly two decades.
Bob Beard | EurekAlert!
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