Hormone Discovery Raises Hope of New Type 2 Diabetes Treatments6 years, 5 months ago
Posted on Jun 13, 2013, 6 a.m.
Switching off a hormone found in fat cells has been shown to improve control of glucose production by the liver.
Uncontrolled glucose production from the liver has long been recognized as a key event in the development of type 2 diabetes, but the reasons as to why this happens have remained elusive. However, Haiming Cao, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases at Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues appear to have solved the mystery. The researchers found that aP2, a hormone released from fat cells, is responsible for controlling glucose production in the liver. The researchers initially increased the levels of aP2 in normal, healthy mice to match the high blood aP2 levels seen in obese mice and humans. This resulted in impaired glucose metabolism. Next, they reduced aP2 levels in obese and diabetic mice to the low levels seen in lean healthy mice. This restored glucose metabolism to its normal status. The researchers also identified a potential therapeutic role for a novel aP2 antibody that neutralized aP2 activity and corrected type 2 diabetes in mice. "The consequences of this discovery are profound, and the potential therapeutic applications by switching this protein off have the capability to reshape the way physicians treat diabetes," said Cao.
Haiming Cao, Motohiro Sekiya, Meric Erikci Ertunc, M Furkan Burak, Jared R Mayers, Ariel White, Karen Inouye, Lisa M Rickey, Baris C Ercal, Masato Furuhashi, Gürol Tuncman, Gökhan S. Hotamisligil. Adipocyte lipid chaperone AP2 is a secreted adipokine regulating hepatic glucose production. Cell Metab. 2013;17:768-778.