Scientists believe that a protein called RBP4 plays a crucial role in regulating insulin resistance when testosterone is impaired.
They found that levels of RBP4 were higher in mice in which the role of testosterone was impaired.
The Edinburgh team say that its findings could lead to the development of new treatments that regulate production of RBP4 and reduce the risk of diabetes in men with lower levels of testosterone.
Researchers are now planning to study patients with Type-2 diabetes to see if their levels of testosterone correlate with levels of RBP 4.
Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, said: "We already know that low testosterone levels are associated with increased obesity and therefore with increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, but this study provides evidence that there can be increased risk even when body mass is not affected. Yet while testosterone-impaired mice developed insulin resistance whatever diet they were given, the effect was considerably more pronounced on those fed on a high fat diet. This reinforces Diabetes UK advice that a healthy balanced diet is important for everyone and particularly for those already at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
"Further work is needed to translate these initial findings into clinical practice, as it is important to emphasise that results in mice may not necessarily have direct relevance for humans. But good basic research such as this represents early steps towards potential new treatments and we are pleased to see research we have funded producing useful results which may benefit people living with diabetes at some point in the future."
|Contact: Tara Womersley|
University of Edinburgh