Females retain insulin sensitivity longer

18 March 2015

It is well documented that obese men are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, compared to their female counterparts. However, a new study at McMaster University has found that proteins could help explain why this difference occurs between the two genders.

The research, published in the Scientific Reports journal, has suggested that a specific protein - PTEN (for Phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10) - is what differentiates between men and women.

When people become overweight, their muscle develops insulin resistance that can lead to type 2 diabetes. PTEN prevents insulin from signalling properly in muscle when activated, which reduces the amount of sugar a muscle takes. This 'muscle insulin resistance' increases the risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

"In our study, women's muscle appeared more efficient in neutralizing this protein, and this allows insulin to work better to move sugar from circulation to muscle," said lead author Dr M Constantine Samaan, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Michael G DeGroote School of Medicine and pediatric endocrinologist at the McMaster Children's Hospital

Dr Samaan added that this is why women are "relatively protected" from type 2 diabetes, despite having more body fat content compared to men at a given weight.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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