Insulin Resistance Regulator Found

by Mark Benson on April 1, 2012

New protein triggers diabetes onset

Recent findings by scientists of the Gladstone Institutes unraveled the activity of a key protein in regulating the body’s resistance to the hormone insulin. This results in the diminished ability of cells in responding to actions of insulin as well as leads the body down the path of diabetes.

The said findings would be published in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The laboratory research conducted by Katerina Akassoglou, an investigator at the Gladstone Institutes paint a picture of how the p75 neurotrophin receptor control the body’s ability to process sugar. The said receptor is formally identified as p75NTR and they a major role in the proper functioning of neurons at the cellular level.

Dr. Akassoglou said, “We identified that p75NTR is a unique player in glucose metabolism. Therapies targeted at p75NTR may represent a new therapeutic approach for diabetes.” She is also a current professor of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. Gladstone Institute is affiliated with the said university.

The pancreas is the organ that produces the hormone insulin. Insulin processes glucose and then moves it from the bloodstream into the cells of the body, which later on is used for energy. When the body presents insulin resistance, then what occurs is the onset of Type 2 diabetes. Here, glucose builds up in the bloodstream because they cannot be processed, leaving cells starved and on the brink of death. In figures presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are nearly twenty million individuals in the United States suffer from Type 2 diabetes.

Gladstone Institute Director Lennart Mucke MD said, “”Type 2 diabetes has become a very serious health problem and it is increasing at an alarming rate. These findings provide an important new avenue for developing better therapies to combat this deadly disease — the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.”

The body has a complex signaling system that allows for interaction between several different types of tissues, such as fat, liver, brain and muscle. These cells also help regulate the levels of glucose in the body. The receptor p75NTR is found in muscle and fat tissue, as it also performs many other functions of the individual cell. The institute’s researchers theorize that the p75NTR may also help in regulating glucose metabolism.

The research was conducted on mice that were bioengineered that lack the genetic ability for p75NTR. The study compared the bioengineered mice from normal mice and found that those without p75NTR were more sensitive to insulin with a normal diet. They also blocked off the p75NTR protein in fat cells, resulting in an increased rate of absorption of insulin.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

edjcox April 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm

This is the type of research the CDC and NIH ought to sponsor and spend time on in order to attck a major disease impacting the American people…

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