Accumulation of ‘toxic’ fat cells may raise the risk of diabetes even if you are slim, a study led by one Indian-origin researcher has found. The study published online in the journal Cell Metabolism, revealed that a buildup of toxic fat cells -- known as ceramides -- prevents the normal function of fat (adipose) tissue in mice.
Ceramides make the body unable to properly process insulin and develop impairments in their ability to burn calories, putting thin people at risk of developing diabetes. This could mean that some people are more likely to convert calories into ceramides than others, the researchers said.
“That suggests some skinny people will get diabetes or fatty liver disease if something such as genetics triggers ceramide accumulation,” said lead author Bhagirath Chaurasia, Assistant Professor at the University of Utah, in the US. In the study, mice with high ceramides levels were found to have an increased diabetes risk whereas mice with low levels could protect against the disease.
The mice were also more susceptible to diabetes as well as fatty liver disease. Conversely, mice with fewer ceramides in their adipose tissue were protected from insulin resistance, a first sign of diabetes.
“Ceramides impact the way the body handles nutrients. They impair the way the body responds to insulin, and also how it burns calories,” added Scott Summers from the University of Utah. “By blocking ceramide production, we might be able to prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes or other metabolic conditions, at least in some people,” Chaurasia said.
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