A New Yale-Developed Model Could Lead to Improved Treatment of Diabetes and Obesity

Researchers believe that the model could lead to improved knowledge and treatment of metabolic diseases.

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.
DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2022.06.003

BiochemistryBoston UniversityDiabetesMetabolic DisordersModelingObesityUniversity of MontrealUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonYale University
Comments ( 1 )
Add Comment
  • Charles G. Shaver

    Certainly the discovery of insulin and the role of the pancreas by 1934 were huge medical science breakthroughs. However, if mainstream medicine (e.g. the AMA?) had paid proper attention to then renowned immunologist Arthur F. Coca, MD (THE PULSE TEST [for allergies, added], 1956, long available free online in PDF format) in the early 1930s would nearly as many people have died miserably from diabetes since (e.g. an uncle of mine who’s family also endured his apparently preventable multiple amputations prior to his untimely passing)?

    As Dr. Coca wrote in chapter six of his book: “The discovery of insulin was a fine accomplishment. It provided a way to treat the chief symptom of diabetes. However, the injections of insulin do not cure the disease. The original cause remains. It continues to act. So, in spite of the insulin, many people die of their diabetes.”

    For me it now begs the question: “Why was Dr. Coca ignored in the early 1930s; for economic reasons?” Other medical researchers may be impressed with this latest in-depth research into diabetes and obesity but I remain decidedly unimpressed with it, as far behind the times and ‘dark-ages’ as I know it to be.