Brain proves to beneficial in the cure of diabetes
The study has found that the brain makes a substantial contribution to insulin response.Updated: Jan 12, 2006 16:42 IST
Researchers have discovered that the animal brain plays a much bigger role in normal blood sugar control than previously believed, paving the way for new strategies that target the molecules involved in the brain's response to insulin ,that may prove beneficial in the management of diabetes in humans.
The study conducted by Michael Schwartz of the University of Washington at Seattle, and his associates,and published in the January 11, 2006, Cell Metabolism, found that the brain makes a substantial contribution to insulin response.
The findings in rats suggest that therapies that boost the brain response to insulin in patients with diabetes might improve blood sugar
control while lowering the required dose of the hormone, which in turn, might help to reduce side effects of insulin treatment, such as weight gain.
"Our findings suggest that, in individuals with diabetes, the ability of insulin to lower blood sugar involves the brain," said senior author of the study, Michael Schwartz. "This effect is not trivial; the brain makes a substantial contribution to insulin response," he added.
For the purpose of their study, the researchers infused the brains of the diabetic rats with a chemical that limits the function of an enzyme involved in the normal insulin response, before injecting the animals with the hormone.
Without the normal brain response to insulin, the hormone therapy's efficacy for reducing blood sugar fell by about 35%, Schwartz said.
Furthermore, they found that gene therapy interventions designed to increase the brain's insulin response heightened the animals' response to therapy about 2-fold.
Strategies that target the molecules involved in the brain's response to insulin "may therefore prove beneficial in the management of diabetes in humans," the researchers said.
Differences in brain sensitivity to the insulin hormone might also help to explain the often "huge variation in insulin requirement" among otherwise comparable diabetes patients, Schwartz said.
First Published: Jan 12, 2006 12:14 IST