Scientists Discover Possible Treatment Target For Early Stage Type 2 Diabetes  

shutterstock_88515778Researchers have recently identified a potential treatment target for type 2 diabetes. They discovered that blocking a protein that regulates the genes  associated with fat creation and insulin signaling can help improve insulin responsiveness. Details of the study was published in the  Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Researchers from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute found that a protein called MondoA may play a role in fat accumulation in the muscle as well as insulin resistance. Both usually occur in obesity-related diabetes. Insulin resistance is characterized by the failure of insulin to process the glucose and convert it to energy. This failure enables glucose to circulate in the blood, prompting the pancreas to produce more and more insulin. Eventually, the added task can overwork and damage the insulin-producing cells, resulting in diabetes.

An early marker of insulin resistance is an accumulation of fat cells in the muscles along with the decreased conversion of glucose into energy. The researchers investigated on whether these two are linked. They focused on observing the skeletal muscles since it is considered as the body’s main insulin responsive tissue. They sought out to find a protein that can be linked to both processes. They focused on examining molecules that have the ability to block fat synthesis as well as enhance the glucose conversion in the muscles.

“Investigating the cellular effects of SBI-477, the best hit molecule from our screen, led us to MondoA,” Daniel P. Kelly, M.D., professor and director of SBP’s Center for Metabolic Origins of Disease, said. “Our experiments showed that this protein regulates genes involved in synthesizing fats as well as inhibiting insulin signaling,” he further added.

Kelly explained, “Until now, it wasn’t clear why people who are insulin resistant accumulate fat in their muscle. These results show that MondoA is one mechanism that ties these phenomena together, serving as a gatekeeper for fuel burning in muscle.”

The researchers were also able to demonstrate that the SBI-477 molecule also works in the glucose reuptake in liver cells. This suggests that MondoA may also have an effect on other tissues in the body. Studies with mice on a high-fat diet showed that blocking MondoA effectively reduced insulin resistance.

Armed with their new findings, the next plan for the researchers is to develop ways on how to inhibit MondoA, a potential target for treating type 2 diabetes at the early stages and possibly delay its progress.

Source: Sanford-Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. (2016, August 8). Scientists discover potential avenue to treating type 2 diabetes at early stages: Gene-regulating protein controls fat storage, insulin sensitivity in muscle. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 25, 2016 from


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