Japanese researchers find compound that lowers blood sugar levels

by Barbara Hewitt on November 5, 2013

Scientists in Japan say that have taken the first steps in developing a new drug with anti-diabetic effects that could be taken as an oral medication for type 2 diabetes.

A team at the University of Tokyo found that when used in obese diabetic mice, the compound called AdipoRon, improved their sensitivity to insulin, improved their health and extended their lifespan.


A compound called AdipoRon was shown to improve sensitivity to insulin and extend lifespan.

It lowered blood sugar levels in mice fed a high-fat diet and in genetically obese mice, according to the study by scientists including Miki Okada-Iwabu, Toshimasa Yamauchi and Masato Iwabu.

AdipoRon, discovered at a University of Tokyo drug library, acts on two receptors of a fat derived hormone called adiponectin that is decreased in obesity. The findings in mice may point to a new approach for treating obesity related type 2 diabetes, the researchers said.

‘AdipoRon shifts the physiology of mice fed excess calorie towards that of mice fed a standard diet, modulates known longevity pathways and improves health and prolongs lifespan,’ the authors wrote in their research report.

There is growing concern worldwide about the growth of obesity and as a result type 2 diabetes. According to the World Health Organisation obesity has nearly doubled since 1980 and 500 million adults, or more than 10% of the world’s adult population, were obese in 2008.

Studies have shown that obese people tend to have lower levels of adiponectin, a hormone that regulates glucose and increases the effectiveness of insulin. As AdipoRon mimics the effects of the hormone, scientists believe that the compound will help to control glucose in the bloodstream. They pointed out that unlike adiponectin, which is broken down as it passes through the gut, AdipoRon survives unscathed all the way to the blood.

‘We aim to launch clinical tests in a few years,’ said Toshimasa Yamauchi, a member of the research team and lecturer at the Graduate School of Medicine at the University of Tokyo.

Doctors advise people with Type 2 diabetes to eat healthily and exercise, but the researchers said that sometimes proves too much of a challenge.

‘Dietary therapy is not easy even for healthy people, no matter whether or not they are obese or have disease. A compound that could imitate dietary and exercise treatments and realise health benefits has long been a desired goal in the field,’ the research report concluded.

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.

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