protein

Fat-Promoting Protein Discovery Could Lead to Type 2 Diabetes Treatment

by Barbara Hewitt on October 19, 2016

A key protein that promotes fat accumulation in animals by slowing the breakdown and expenditure of fat, and encouraging weight gain instead, could be used to develop new treatment for type 2 diabetes – this according to scientists in the United States.

The researchers from the Scripps Research Institute in Florida found that the protein IP6K1 is a viable target in obesity and type 2 diabetes. They also discovered that an inhibitor of the protein known as TNP decelerates what is known as diet- induced obesity and insulin resistance. This can ultimately help with weight reduction.

microbiologist-lab-scientistType 2 diabetes is more prevalent in people who are obese. As a result, getting them to lose weight is an important part of any treatment programme. Over the past few years, enhancing energy expenditure has emerged as an attractive strategy to combat obesity and diabetes, although how this might be accomplished remains something of a mystery, simply because the mechanisms by which the body maintains its energy balance, are complex.

Researchers believe that current anti-obesity medications are only partly effective, due to substantial side effects, the temporary nature of the weight loss and the non-responsiveness of a considerable number of patients.

In the study, IP6k1, specifically its inhibition, is identified as a potentially rich target. Assistant Professor Anutosh Chakraborty and his colleagues found that deleting IP6K1 in fat cells enhanced energy expenditure and protected animal models from diet induced obesity and insulin resistance.

The expenditure of fat energy is preceded by a process called lipolysis that breaks down stored fat or triglycerides, specifically into free fatty acids and glycerol, to be used as energy in cells. The team discovered that deletion of IP6K1 affects the interaction with another regulating protein and enhances the breakdown of fats.

To determine the therapeutic possibilities of the IP6K1 pathway, the team looked at the impact of an IP6K inhibitor known as TNP on diet induced obesity in animal models. They found that TNP significantly slows the initiation of diet induced obesity and insulin resistance.

‘In addition, the compound facilitates weight loss and improves metabolic parameters when used in animals that are already obese,’ said Chakraborty, adding that it is possible that by eliminating the IP6k1 protein in humans fats will be broken down more easily, helping weight loss and cutting the risk of type 2 diabetes.

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