Recent Advances in Diabetes Research Bring Us Closer to a Cure

  • Posted on June 11, 2014 by Pharma Models Blogging Team in Diabetes

Over the past 20 years, the diet in the United States has seen a dramatic rise in the use of added sweeteners, such as high-fructose corn syrup, which in turn has lead to  a increase in obesity rates and an epidemic of obesity related diabetes. Diabetes has always been a difficult disease to treat, but this is changing as researchers uncover innovative ways to improve this condition among patients – including obesity and diabetes animal models.

Excessive consumption of fructose (a major component of high-fructose corn syrup) leads to fatty changes in the liver and an increase in fat in other vital organs. However, Dr. Yuri Sautin from the University of Florida has uncovered more details on the way fructose is metabolized by the body, according to the American Diabetes Association, which allowed him to discover ways to thwart the detrimental effects.

Fructose is metabolized differently from other sugars. It is first metabolized by an enzyme called ketohexokinase (KHK) and then absorbed by the liver.  The metabolism of fructose by KHK bypasses a critical checkpoint in sugar metabolism.  High levels of fructose cause genes to stimulate fat production in the liver and other organs.  Over time these changes can lead to insulin resistance, fatty liver disease, and Type 2 diabetes.

Sautin and his team researched the effects of a high-fructose diet on mice over 12 weeks. At first, the normal mice were fed high fructose diets which resulted in high levels of visceral fat and the mice were found to be insulin-resistant.

Afterward, the researchers developed an animal model by knocking- out the gene that encodes the KHK enzyme.  When they fed the resulting KHKdeficient mice a high fructose diet, other pathways substituted for the original metabolism of fructose and the mice showed normal insulin sensitivity and healthy dissemination of fat within their bodies.

“This study demonstrates that blocking KHK and redirecting fructose metabolism to alternative pathways is an effective way to prevent visceral obesity and insulin resistance induced by high fructose, a widespread component of Western diets,” Dr. Sautin told the source. “Our studies will likely be useful for developing new therapeutic approaches for the prevention and treatment of obesity and metabolic syndrome.”

This advancement in diabetes research is a major boom to the sector, as it brings us ever closer to finding a cure for the disease. Other studies show that diabetic nerve damage causes significant damage to the grey matter of the brain, according to the Medical Xpress publication.

Researchers from the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust followed patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and used MRIs to take detailed nerve image assessments. The results show that the overall volume of certain brain regions is lower in those with diabetic neuropathy than those without the condition. Diabetic neuropathy affects approximately 33 percent of people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

This discovery is also important to the advancement of diabetes treatment. It could lead to better assessment and monitoring of diabetic neuropathy. It could also bring patients improved therapy for the medical condition.

This particular disease causes crippling pain and hinders patients from participating in normal activities like walking their dog or getting up the stairs. The study findings could help doctors better manage the illness and prevent the biggest issues.

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