Sarasota, Fla. – August 1, 2007 The Roskamp Institute released a study defining a mechanism for the development of obesity and the metabolic syndrome, which are the forerunners of type 2 diabetes. The study, led by Roskamp’s Dr. Robert Farese, is detailed in the August issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation, a highly prestigious medical research journal.
While the Roskamp Institute’s primary focus is on Alzheimer’s disease, Roskamp researchers have a significant interest in diabetes due to studies that suggest those who have diabetes are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
The study found that a deficiency in an enzyme, atypical protein kinase C, impairs the ability of insulin to stimulate glucose uptake into the muscle, which produces a state of resistance to circulating insulin. Once this occurs, the liver begins to produce excessive quantities of fat, causing abdominal obesity and alterations in blood lipids. According to the study, this can then lead to obesity and the metabolic syndrome, the precursors of type 2 diabetes.
“Although this gene-knockout study was done on mice, it is particularly relevant to type 2 diabetic humans, who are known to have deficiencies of this enzyme in their muscles,” said Dr. Farese. “The findings showed that in the mice a simple loss of one or more genes that are responsible for the production of this enzyme could eventually cause obesity and the metabolic syndrome which then could lead to type 2 diabetes.”
Further research must be done to determine how human diabetics acquire a deficiency of this enzyme in their muscles; however, this mouse model should be especially helpful to further study and devise treatments for obesity and the metabolic syndrome.
“We are particularly excited about this study and the potential to develop treatments for obesity and the metabolic syndrome, which are both global health problems,” said Dr. Michael Mullan, director of the Roskamp Institute. “This study will also be helpful in further determining how obesity, the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.”
The study was co-authored by Dr. Farese, who led the team of Mini P. Sajan, Hong Yang, and Sonali Nimal at the Roskamp Institute; and others at the James A. Haley Veterans Administration Medical Center in Tampa; the University of South Florida College of Medicine; the Joslin Research Foundation and Harvard University School of Medicine; Yale University School of Medicine, and Research Center at Oslo, Norway.
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