A group of researchers has discovered a new independent alternative to insulin to regulate glucose levels in blood . Specifically, it is a molecule produced in fatty tissue that regulates in a powerful and fast way the levels of sugar in the blood , as does insulin.
This research work has been prepared by scientists from the Salk Institute in the United States. Thus, the results of this study could open a new path for the development of therapies for the treatment of diabetes.
Insulin was discovered 100 years ago, opening a path of hope to millions of people with diabetes. Since that time, the insulin produced by the pancreas has been considered the main treatment to control blood glucose levels.
A new alternative to insulin
With all this, 100 years later a group of researchers has discovered that the hormone called FGF1 helps control the levels of glucose in the blood; inhibiting the breakdown of fats (lipolysis).
As with insulin, the hormone FGF1 helps control blood glucose by inhibiting lipolysis; although both hormones do it differently. For this reason, FGF1 could be used safely to control blood glucose in people who show insulin resistance.
Ronald Evans, professor and co-author of this research work, explains that “finding a second hormone that suppresses lipolysis and lowers glucose is a scientific advance. We have identified a new actor in the regulation of fat lipolysis that will help us understand how energy reserves are managed in the body. ”
In this research work, the scientists analyzed the mechanisms underlying these phenomena and the way they were related. First, they found that FGF1 suppresses lipolysis, as does insulin.
Next, they also observed that FGF1 helps regulate the production of glucose in the liver, another of the actions that insulin also performs.
Therefore, these similarities made the researchers wonder to what extent FGF1 and insulin use the same communication pathways to cause regulation of blood glucose levels. It is a highly innovative discovery.
A hopeful mechanism
Previously, it was already known that insulin has the ability to suppress lipolysis through PDE3B, an enzyme that initiates the signaling pathway. However, the researchers were surprised how FGF1 used a different pathway, PDE4; to control blood glucose.
In this regard, the co-author of the research, Gencer Sancar, points out that «this mechanism is basically a second loop, with all the advantages of a parallel path. In insulin resistance, insulin signaling is impaired. However, with a different signaling cascade, if one doesn’t work, the other can. In this way, lipolysis and glycemic regulation continue to be controlled. ”
After this first hopeful finding in the field of treatment for the control of glucose in the blood and diabetes, the researchers show their desire to analyze the possibility of modifying the FGF1 to enhance PDE4 activity.
As a conclusion, Professor Michael Downes, argues that “the unique ability of FGF1 to induce a sustained reduction in glucose in insulin-resistant diabetic mice is a promising therapeutic pathway for diabetic patients.”
«We hope that understanding this pathway will lead to better treatments for diabetic patients. Now that we have a new pathway, we can find out its role in the body’s energy homeostasis and how to manipulate it », concludes the researcher.