Bethesda, MD—Even if the obesity trend cannot be reversed, here's hope that it's partner in crime—diabetes—might be thwarted. New research published in the December 2013 issue of The FASEB Journal shows how a recently discovered human peptide, called humanin, could lead to powerful new treatments for some people living with diabetes. That's because research in mice and rats shows that a humanin analogue (a peptide molecularly similar to humanin) increases insulin secretion leading to an increase in glucose metabolism within beta cells.
"Diabetes is a major disease that is expected to affect more than 500 million people in the next two decades," said Radhika Muzumdar, M.D., study author from the Departments of Pediatrics and Medicine in the Divisions of Endocrinology and Geriatrics at Children's Hospital at Montefiore at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York. "Humanin could be a potential weapon in our arsenal in the fight against this global problem."
To make this discovery, Muzumdar and colleagues tested the effects of humanin on insulin secretion in rats and mice; in groups of cells called islets from the pancreas that contain beta cells; and in cultured mouse beta cell lines. In rats, administration of a humanin analog increased insulin levels in the blood in response to high blood glucose levels. The humanin analog increased insulin secretion in islets from both normal mice as well as islets from diabetic mice. In the next step, researchers confirmed that humanin increases insulin secretion in isolated beta cells. The work also demonstrated that this was closely linked to energy production from metabolism of glucose in beta cells. In addition, when the metabolism of glucose in beta cells was blocked, humanin did not increase insulin secretion. Finally, humanin levels naturally decline with age, suggesting that humanin or its analogues may be benefit patients with other conditions as well, such as stroke, heart disease and Alzheimer's.
"As global obesity remains at very high levels, so does diabetes," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "This report identifies a promising compound that could have a dramatic effect on public health throughout the world."
Receive monthly highlights from The FASEB Journal by e-mail. Sign up at http://www.faseb.org/fjupdate.aspx. The FASEB Journal is published by the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). It is among the most cited biology journals worldwide according to the Institute for Scientific Information and has been recognized by the Special Libraries Association as one of the top 100 most influential biomedical journals of the past century. FASEB is composed of 27 societies with more than 110,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States. Our mission is to advance health and welfare by promoting progress and education in biological and biomedical sciences through service to our member societies and collaborative advocacy.
Details: Regina Kuliawat, Laura Klein, Zhenwei Gong, Marianna Nicoletta-Gentile, Anjana Nemkal, Lingguang Cui, Claire Bastie, Kai Su, Derek Huffman, Manju Surana, Nir Barzilai, Norman Fleischer, and Radhika Muzumdar Potent humanin analog increases glucose-stimulated insulin secretion through enhanced metabolism in the β cell. FASEB J December 2013 27:4890-4898; doi:10.1096/fj.13-231092 ; http://www.fasebj.org/content/27/12/4890.abstract
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