New link established between insulin and obesity

3 August 2011

Offering potentially new insights for patients needing weight loss surgery, the link between the worldwide rise in obesity and the corresponding increase in type 2 diabetes has been strengthened in new research.

Scientists at the Joslin Diabetes Center in the US found that alteration of proteins which govern splicing produced in the liver of obese people can in turn affect proteins which produce a type of fat that is a major factor in insulin resistance, so causing diabetes.

Adding to the growing weight of evidence detailing exactly how obesity causes type 2 diabetes, the findings should "stimulate the search" for other evidence in which splicing is affecting insulin resistance and other causal factors, said Dr Mary-Elizabeth Patti, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

"This work adds a novel insight into how obesity may induce insulin resistance and diabetes risk by changing critical functions of cells, including splicing," Dr Patti added on the findings, published in the Cell Metabolism journal.

According to Diabetes UK, there are 2.6 million people in Britain who have been diagnosed with diabetes as of 2009. Of those, the charity estimates that 90 per cent of cases are type 2 related.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

1 Pihlajamaki, Jussi, et. al., " Expression of the Splicing Factor Gene SFRS10 Is Reduced in Human Obesity and Contributes to Enhanced Lipogenesis". Cell Metabolism. Wednesday August 3rd 2011.

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