Washington DC: Novel mechanism of insulin resistance in diabetes has been revealed.
Insensitivity to insulin, also called insulin resistance, is associated with type 2 diabetes and affects several cell types and organs in the body.
Now, scientists from Sweden`s Karolinska Institutet have discovered a mechanism that explains how insulin-producing cells can be insulin resistant and insulin sensitive at the same time.
Insulin is critical in lowering blood glucose concentration. Individuals with type 2 diabetes suffer from insulin resistance and this means that their cells/organs are insensitive to insulin.
In type 2 diabetes the body tries to compensate by producing more insulin, and also by increasing the number of insulin-producing cells.
Finding new treatment strategies is only possible by gaining a greater understanding of what happens in the body of a diabetic patient.
One scientific challenge is to explain how a cell/organ at the same time can be insulin resistant in one biological function and insulin sensitive in another.
The beta cell must have insulin to work properly, says lead author Barbara Leibiger, adding that in a person with diabetes, the beta cells become insensitive to insulin.
The researchers found that under diabetic conditions, even though insulin receptor B is insulin insensitive for one signaling pathway, insulin can under these conditions instead activate a different signalling pathway, leading to beta cell proliferation.
The researchers also identified the factor, PI3K-C2alpha, which caused the switch from one signaling pathway to another.
According to the study authors, factors involved in the re-routing of the insulin signal represent tentative therapeutic targets in the treatment of diabetes.
The findings are being published in the journal Cell Reports.