Glucose 'control switch' key to diabetes

29 July 2014

Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have identified a control switch in the brain that is key to sensing glucose levels in the blood. The findings, which have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences journal, say this mechanism can be linked to both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Lead author Sabrina Diano, professor in the Departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Comparative Medicine, and Neurobiology at Yale School of Medicine, said the findings could lead to new treatments for the condition.

According to Professor Diano, the team discovered that the prolyl endopeptidase enzyme - located in a part of the hypothalamus known as the ventromedial nucleus - triggers a series of steps that control glucose levels in the blood.

The ventromedial nucleus contains cells that are glucose sensors. Using mice, the researchers found that low levels of prolyl endopeptidase could be linked to high levels of glucose in the blood and diabetes.

Professor Diano and her team discovered that this enzyme is important as it makes the brain sensitive to glucose and the neurons sense the increase and then tell the pancreas to release insulin.

Posted by Philip Briggs

 

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