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From feast to famine: A metabolic switch that may help diabetes treatment
Date:4/25/2012

to be effective at preventing and treating diabetes, the obesity epidemic continues to grow and new drugs to treat the problem are desperately needed. Against this backdrop, the Evans' lab discovery is an important breakthrough ---- and a surprise.

"The discovery of FGF1 was unexpected ---- and intriguing ---- because it was believed to do nothing," says Jae Myoung Suh, a postdoctoral researcher in Evans' laboratory and co-first author on the paper. "If you deplete FGF1 from the body, nothing happens when the mice are fed a steady low fat diet. But when given a high-fat, "Western-style" diet the mice develop an aggressive form of diabetes and experience a system-wide breakdown of their metabolic health."

"These abnormalities cause abdominal or stomach fat to become inflamed," says Michael Downes, a senior staff scientist in Salk's Gene Expression Laboratory and co-lead author on the paper. "This is important because inflamed visceral fat has been linked to heightened risk for diabetes and other obesity-related diseases, such as heart disease and stroke."

The scientists also found that FGF1 is regulated by the antidiabetic drug Actos, which is used to increase the body's sensitivity to insulin. But Actos and related drugs, though helpful, have side effects that limit their use.

Thus, Evans and his colleagues plan to explore whether FGF1 might point to a new way to control diabetes by avoiding the drawbacks of Actos and providing a more natural means of increasing insulin sensitivity.


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Contact: Andy Hoang
AHoang@salk.edu
619-861-5811
Salk Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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