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September 22, 2005

Researchers Identify New Target In Fight Against Obesity

Topics: Medicine

The incidence of Type 2 diabetes is now increasing at alarming rates. In the United States alone, approximately 7% of the total population is affected. And even more alarming is the recent warning from the U.S. government that as many as 16 million Americans over the age of 40 are prediabetic and are at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. The prediabetic condition is associated with obesity and a resistance to the action of insulin, and today's sedentary lifestyles are contributing to the increase in what appears to be an epidemic.

Now, University of Cincinnati (UC) scientists have identified a possible new target for treating obesity and diabetes.

The new target, a molecule called hVps34, is activated by amino acids (nutrients) entering the cell. This molecule triggers the activation of an enzyme, S6 Kinase 1 (S6K1), whose function UC researchers linked last year to obesity and insulin resistance.

"Insulin and amino acids both play a critical role in growth and development," said lead author George Thomas, PhD, interim director of UC's Genome Research Institute and Department of Genome Science. "Both are responsible for 'driving' cell growth. Now we have found that they actually work through independent pathways to trigger a molecule that turns on S6K1.

"Since we know S6K1 is linked to obesity and insulin resistance," he added, "learning that it can actually be turned on by more than one pathway is important, because it represents a potential target to regulate obesity."

Related:
Type 2 Diabetes: New Drugs, New Perspectives

Absence of S6K1 protects against age- and diet-induced obesity while enhancing insulin sensitivity.

Overactivation of s6 kinase 1 as a cause of human insulin resistance during increased amino Acid availability.

"Diabesity" - The Obesity-Diabetes Link

Posted by Richard at September 22, 2005 6:28 PM



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