New target against type 2 diabetes identified

Washington: Researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center have identified a new drug target for treatment of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.

In their study, they have shown that an enzyme, Sirt3, found in the mitochondria - the power producers of cells that convert energy into usable forms - of cells is decreased in the skeletal muscle of those with diabetes, a finding that could lead to the development of drugs to boost the activity of this enzyme in an effort to fight the disease.

“Ours is perhaps the first study to understand what is going wrong in the mitochondria of those with diabetes,” said senior author C. Ronald Kahn, M.D., Head of the Joslin Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism and the Mary K. Iacocca Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“Many studies have shown that the mitochondria don`t work well in those with diabetes. This points to a cause of why they don`t work well.”

The goal for the future will be to find ways to restore levels of Sirt3 or increase the activity of the existing Sirt3, perhaps with a drug, in a bid to improve insulin resistance in the muscle and improve muscle metabolism, he said.

“It is a new target,” he said.

“Agents which increase Sirt3 activity could, therefore, potentially reverse at least some of the adverse effects of type 2 diabetes,” the paper concludes.

The study was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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