BioQuakes

AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Tag: insulin

Insulin Resistance Reversed by Removal of Protein

By removing the protein galectin-3 (Gal3) from the insulin receptor cells, a team of investigators led by University of California School of Medicine researchers were able to reverse diabetic insulin resistance and glucose intolerance in mice with diabetes. This could be the beginnings of a break threw in the cure for type 2 diabetes.

By binding to insulin receptors on cells, Gal3 prevents insulin from attaching to the receptors resulting in cellular insulin resistance. A research team led by Jared Olefsky MD, discovered that by genetically removing Gal3 or using pharmaceutical inhibitors to target it, insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance could be returned to normal. Olefsky stated, “Our findings suggest that Gal3 inhibition in people could be an effective anti-diabetic approach.”

Gal3 is secreted by microphages (specialized cells that destroy targeted cells).The researchers pinpointed macrophages coming from bone marrow as the source of the Gal3 that causes insulin resistance. The accumulation of macrophages in the liver cells, fat cells, and skeletal muscle cells, leads to chronic inflammation and insulin resistance. The Gal3 released by macrophages causes insulin resistance by binding to insulin receptors on cells, preventing insulin from attaching. The worst part is that Gal3 also acts as a signaling protein, attracting more macrophages to the area, which then produce even more Gal3.

This discovery although untested on humans yet, could be the beginnings of a cure for type 2 diabetes. As a member of a family plagued by Type 2 diabetes, this study can offer hope to us and millions around the world. My main question/ concern, would be is this a one time procedure? Or a recurring treatment?. Either way, this discovery is a huge step for the diabetic community around the world.

 

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Chemical in coffee may help prevent obesity-related disease

Small cup of coffee

Scientist at University of Georgia (UGA) have done a study that suggests that coffee has a chemical that can help decrease the risk of obesity and thus lower the chances for type 2 diabetes and liver diseases. Coffee contains chlorogenic acid, or CGA. CGA is not only found in coffee but in fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, and blueberries. CGA is an antioxidant that can decrease chronic inflammation in animals. Chronic inflammation is a cause of obesity which can inhibit your body’s ability to receive insulin. The test was done on a group of mice who were given high fat diets and injected with CGA shots over a 15 week period. The mice revived the CGA shots bi-weekly. Without the shots, the mice would’ve gained a substantial amount of weight, but because of CGA, they had little to no weight gain, healthy liver composition and normal blood sugar levels.

While CGA does decrease the chance of obesity, it is not a cure. Yongjie Ma, “a postdoctoral research associate in UGA’s College of Pharmacy and lead author of the paper,” said that this is not a substitute for diet and exercise. The main use for CGA would be as a therapeutic method to help people at risk of obesity and potential diabetes.

Do you think CGA can make a big impact on the obesity and diabetes community?

Additional article: http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20120328/green-coffee-beans-may-aid-weight-loss

 

Drinking Coffee May Have Health Benefits?

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Petr Kratochvil

A new study at the University of Georgia indicates that a chemical compound commonly found in coffee might prevent obesity-related disease. While previous studies show that coffee consumption can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes, scientists have recently focused on chlorogenic acid, a compound also known to be in tomatoes, apples, blueberries, and pears.

The test consisted of a group of mice that were fed a high fat diet for 15 weeks while giving them CGA solution injections twice a week. Researchers found that the CGA shots helped the mice maintain normal blood sugar levels, a healthy liver composition, and prevent weight gain. It is important to note, however, that the mice received an extremely high dosage of CGA, much greater than what the average human would obtain by drinking coffee on a regular basis or eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

For the past 20 years obesity has become an issue of increasing incidence in the US. Obesity often leads to two major side effects aside from weight gain: increased insulin resistance and fat buildup in the liver. In the paper published in Pharmaceutical Research, researchers write that the CGA, significantly reduced insulin resistance and accumulation of fat in the livers of mice. They plan to extend the project to develop CGA formulation for humans.

As the Liu Lab writes “CGA is a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation,” but they are not to quick to jump to conclusions. Scientists still believe that proper diet and regular exercise are the most effective ways to reduce obesity-related risks. That being said, I definitely think this makes us feel better about drinking coffee every morning.

Original Article:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141114124907.htm

For More Info:

http://www.medicaldaily.com/antioxidant-coffee-might-lower-risk-weight-gain-obesity-related-diseases-310816

Epigenetics, Dads, and Obesity

 

By Ynse. Photo from Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/ynse/1531699476/

 

It turns out that kids with obese fathers have unique epigenetic changes that can affect their health… for the worse.

According to a recent study, “children with obese fathers have different epigenetic markings on the gene for insulin-type growth factor 2 (IGF2) than children with fathers of normal weight.”

Children with obese fathers have less methylation on a specific region of the IGF2 gene. Sadly, this occurrence is linked with many types of cancers such as ovarian cancer.

However, it is too soon to tell if these epigenetic changes are directly linked to the children’s’ health.

According to the biologist Gudrun Moore, “it is tempting to over-emphasize the role of a small number of parent-of-origin expressing genes and to speculate about the effects of modest variation in methylation, but we must not be too hasty to blame either parent for their offspring’s health outcomes.”

However, other researchers are sure that that your parent’s environment and habits affect children’s health.

According to Michael Skinner, this research “suggests that environmental epigenetics might be the mechanism for these effects.”

Maybe now both the mother and father have to be careful about what they eat during the pregnancy. Sorry Dads-to-be, you are going to have to eat healthy now!

For more information on epigenetics and health, you can visit these links.

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21565573-some-effects-smoking-may-be-passed-grandmother

http://healthletter.mayoclinic.com/editorial/editorial.cfm/i/249/t/Understanding%20epigenetics/

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ynse/1531699476/

S U G A R !

Mmm, sugar, so yummy…

Dr. David Katz, the director at the Yale Prevention Research Center writes of the negative effects of sugar in our lives in his article “Medicine, Museums, and Spoons Full of Sugar.” It’s a fact: kids and adults are eating way too much sugar, and this excess is known to contribute to the obesity epidemic.  Obesity itself causes other complications like diabetes and other diseases.

We’ve always known that having too much sugar is a bad thing, but how does it all add up? Soda like Coke, Sprite and Fanta are regarded by some public health experts as “liquid candy.”  Soda adds tons of calories and sugar to a typical diet.  So there you have it: soda is one of the many guilty culprits in the add up of sugar.

Taken by Yasmin Kibria

That’s only part of the problem–most of the excess sugar actually comes from foods.  “A how much is too much? According to Dr. Andrew Weil, everyone has a different response to sugar.  For some it triggers modd swings, brings on a sugar rush followed by a crash, and for some, there are no noticeable effects.  Sugar tends to drive obesity, high blood pressure, and Type II diabetes in people who are genetically programmed to develop insulin resistance.

How does too much sugar lead to obesity? According to Dr. Robert Lustig, sugar causes more insulin resistance in the liver than does other foods.  The pancreas then has to release more insulin to satisfy the liver’s needs.  High insulin levels obstruct the brain from receiving signals form leptin, a hormone secreted by fat cells.

Dr. iPhones

Just when we thought apple technology was the greatest things ever. Once again the apps on our iphones, ipads, and ipods are changing our lives. Now they are finding ways to connect our physical health to our iphone apps. How? Is this possible?

Researchers are working on technology that when you take a “smart pill” or some sort of microchip that an iphone app will be able to pick up a signal and record the health of our bodies to be sent to the physicians. This reminded me of the movie we are watching in class, GATTACA, where machines are able to anayzlize our well-being and dieaseas.

Another interesting iphone app meets medicine, is insulin shots and being able to figure out how much diabetics should take. Instead of using pumps and taking blood, iphones can be all your all one in package. Phone calls, texting, camera, internet, games, facebook, music… and now get a check up. Whats next?

 

 

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