Washington: Scientists have suggested that problems controlling blood sugar — the hallmark of diabetes — may begin in the intestines.The finding may upend long-held theories about the causes of the disease. Because insulin is produced in the pancreas and sugar is stored in the liver, many scientists have looked to those organs for the underlying causes of diabetes.In the new research, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis studied mice that are unable to make fatty acid synthase (FAS) in the intestine.FAS, an enzyme crucial for the production of lipids, is regulated by insulin, and people with diabetes have defects in FAS. Mice without the enzyme in the intestines develop chronic inflammation in the gut, a powerful predictor of diabetes.“Diabetes may indeed start in your gut,” said principal investigator Clay F. Semenkovich, MD.“When people become resistant to insulin, as happens when they gain weight, FAS doesn’t work properly, which causes inflammation that, in turn, can lead to diabetes,” he explained.
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