Glucose response holds key to better obesity and diabetes drugs
For the first time, South Australian researchers have recorded how human gut cells react to glucose, one of the key nutrients in our diet.
The study focuses on the secretion of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1 (or GLP-1) from the lining of the gut. When it is released after a meal, GLP-1 triggers insulin secretion from the pancreas and signals fullness, to limit further food intake.
As a result, this hormone has been the focus of significant new drug development for type 2 diabetes and obesity in the past decade.
“But while we knew that GLP-1 was important in diabetes and obesity treatment, we still knew little about how the release of this hormone was controlled in humans,” says research leader Professor Damien Keating, from Flinders University and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).
“We have now recorded how the arrival of glucose in the upper intestine triggers the release of this important hormone, which has been a chief therapeutic target for a number of diabetes and new anti-obesity drugs,” Professor Keating says.
“By learning more about the gut’s mechanism to process glucose and produce this hormone, we can begin to develop potential new therapies which may be much more targeted and effective.”
With obesity and Type 2 (acquired) diabetes on the rise, these therapies will be important in increasing public health and wellbeing, and in reducing the future cost burden of these conditions to the community.
Drugs that mimic GLP-1, or increase its levels in blood, are now used successfully for the treatment of people wi Continue reading