A new model that will allow scientists to better study and treat metabolic illnesses
Despite the fact that insulin was discovered more than a century ago, metabolic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and fatty liver continue to affect the majority of the population. More than one-third (36.5%) of adults in the United States are obese, while another 32.5% are overweight. Overweight or obese adults account for more than two-thirds of all adults in the United States.
Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that occur simultaneously and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Excessive blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels are examples of these conditions. Despite significant research and testing, experts have failed to discover a way to prevent or cure these disorders.
A team of scientists from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), the University of Wisconsin, Yale School of Medicine, and the University of Montreal has developed a new testable model that might lead to a better understanding and treatment of metabolic illnesses.
The results were recently published in Cell Metabolism.
“Progress requires models that can inform our understanding. The current models are inadequate and therefore not likely to help solve this important problem. A revised model is needed,” says co-corresponding author Barbara E. Corkey, Ph.D., professor emeritus of medicine and biochemistry at BUSM.
In this review article, the researchers integrate many new aspects of cell metabolic signal transduction (the process by which a cell responds to substances outside the cell through signaling molecules found on the surface of and inside the cell) that has previously not been covered with new knowledge in the field. From this analysis, the researchers have developed a new testable model.
According to the researchers, this area of study addresses a central question in metabolism at large: how do calorigenic nutrients activate a cell? “This is important not only for the diabetes field but also for many other systems such as the fuel-sensitive cells in the gut, the portal vein, and the brain,” says Corkey.
Reference: “Metabolic cycles and signals for insulin secretion” by Matthew J. Merrins, Barbara E. Corkey, Richard G. Kibbey and Marc Prentki, 20 June 2022, Cell Metabolism.