Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Diabetes News - a key underlying cause of Insulin Resistance

I haven't found the original link, and this entry has no permalink, so please let me know if the pointer "slips". The issue is how we become pre-diabetic and the relationship to moderate exercise.
Diabetes News: "Despite being young, healthy and lean, all of the test subjects had high levels of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is often referred to as 'pre-diabetes' because it's the first sign that the body is not processing sugar properly." ...........
"And as Shulman says, "Fat inside the muscle cell causes insulin resistance; so the real question becomes, 'Why is the fat building up?'"

One of the goals of the team's research was to figure out exactly what was happening on a cellular level to cause this fat buildup.................

They found that compared to normal volunteers, the insulin-resistant group had much less mitochondrial activity. So it was, in fact, the mitochondria that were to blame for the fat building up inside the cells and not a defect in fat cells.

Shulman says that discovering that reduced mitochondrial activity is to blame is a key step in coming up with treatments and prevention. "I'm very excited about this because, really, if you understand the mechanisms to the disease, this will allow us to develop pharmacologic interventions to correct the disease or ideally prevent it," he says. In an even more recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Shulman's team revealed that the lower mitochondrial activity in these insulin-resistant patients is actually due to the fact that they have fewer mitochondria. As a result, the team is also focusing on identifying the genes that might be responsible for this reduced mitochondria count. Until treatments are available, though, Shulman says there's a lot we can do to keep the risk of diabetes at bay. In another study, his team actually observed a total reversal of insulin resistance as a consequence of — you guessed it — regular exercise. "We've taken the same group of individuals and had them exercise four times a week on a stairmaster, and have totally reversed the insulin resistance in skeletal muscle," he says. "

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