Diabetes: New compounds may lower blood sugar but prevent weight gain
Researchers are one step closer to a new drug that could lower blood glucose levels in patients with insulin resistance, but without the potentially harmful side effects.
Insulin resistance is a known risk factor for type 2 diabetes. It arises when the body's cells are no longer able to respond to insulin, which is the hormone that regulates blood glucose.
As a result, blood glucose levels can become too high, and this may lead to type 2 diabetes. There are medications that can help to prevent the progression to type 2 diabetes in patients with insulin resistance, such as thiazolidinediones.
But unfortunately, these medications can promote weight gain and a number of other health problems.
Dr. Domenico Accili — director of the Columbia University Diabetes Research Center at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, NY — and colleagues have identified a number of compounds that may be just as effective as current insulin resistance medications on the market, but which do not lead to weight gain.
The researchers recently reported their findings in the journal Cell.
FOXO1 and insulin resistance
The reason why currently available medications for insulin resistance can cause weight gain is because they target and block a protein called FOXO1.
While inhibiting FOXO1 reduces glucose production in the liver — thereby reducing blood glucose levels — it also increases the production of lipids, or fat.
"Thus, treatment of insulin resistance with a broadly acting FOXO1 inhibitor can lead to a host of unwanted side effects, such as weight gain," says Dr. Accili. "Unfo Continue reading