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High insulin levels tied to obesity pathway, new UT Southwestern research shows
Date:8/25/2014

said Dr. Roth, who holds the Diane and Hal Brierley Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Research. "This result suggests that the high levels of insulin found in those who develop insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are a contributor to obesity and its complications."

Dr. Roth cautioned that if this response also happens in humans, then treating patients with type 2 diabetes with higher than normal amounts of insulin could contribute to the development of obesity.

The findings suggest that physicians may need to reconsider use of intensive insulin therapy to control hyperglycemia (high blood-sugar levels) in obese, diabetic patients with hyperinsulinemia (overproduction of insulin). In addition, the findings suggest that suppressing glucagon action could prevent hyperinsulinemia, without causing diabetes. The research team found that suppressing glucagon in obese, insulin-resistant, type 2 diabetic mice reduced blood glucose back to normal levels.

Glucagon and insulin normally counteract each other as part of an ongoing effort to stabilize blood-sugar levels. The glucagon hormone is produced and released by the pancreas in response to low concentrations of insulin and, conversely, glucagon release is suppressed by high levels of insulin in the bloodstream. The balance between the two hormones is disrupted in type 2 diabetics by the insulin that is given to control high glucose levels. This excess insulin, in turn, causes the body to produce excess fat. The new findings lead the authors to suggest that the high insulin levels actually aggravate diabetes. The optimal therapy, they propose, should be diet restriction and reducing glucagon levels.

According to estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO), 347 million people worldwide have diabetes, 90 percent of whom are affected by type 2 diabetes. Although previously only seen in adults, type 2 diabetes is now occurring in children, and can include complications such as an incr
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Contact: Russell Rian
russell.rian@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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