Latest research has shown that single gene PTEN is responsible in humans for insulin sensitivity. This study could be very helpful for discovering new potential anti-diabetic drug for the treatment of diabetes.
“They’ve shown a link between the cell cycle and a risk for type 2 diabetes, which has started to suggest there might be a genetic overlap in terms of your predisposition for getting diabetes and cancer,” study author Dr. Anna Gloyn, of the Oxford Center for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at Oxford, told FoxNews.com,
It was observed during the study that risk of certain types of cancers including breast, thyroid and womb could be increased due to mutation in one PTEN gene. They have also found that PTEN gene also play some roles in metabolism.
“This gene was a good candidate to pick because you could hypothesize that if there was a defect in this gene, it could impact not only cell growth, which would lead to cancer, but it could also affect their metabolic outcome,” Gloyn said.
Researchers are trying to understand the dual role of PTEN gene. To do so, they conduct this study on persons suffering from Cowden syndrome. This syndrome occurs due to mutation in PTEN gene. Patients suffering from Cowden syndrome are more likely to have cancer and often develop polyps on their skin, mouth and bowels.
Cowden syndrome is rare and it is estimated that only 300 people are suffering from this syndrome in U.K.
During this study researcher made two groups, one was disease and other was normal. Glucose drinks were given to both of groups and researchers found that insulin sensitivity was more in diseased group (suffering from Cowden syndrome).
“With very low amounts of this [insulin] hormone, they could clear the glucose from their system,” Gloyn said. “… the cells in our pancreas are responsible for secreting insulin – which helps to clear glucose from our blood. The people who have these mutations respond very quickly to lower levels of glucose.”
Effectiveness of human insulin is less to clear glucose from the body because initially glucose has to go metabolism. This is the reason that most of the diabetic persons are overweight or obese. Different types of drugs are given in diabetic patients to increase insulin sensitivity.
The group who was suffering from cowden syndrome has more ability to clear glucose from the body and they were obese too in comparison to control group.
“You would think if we have insulin sensitive people they’d be thin, but that wasn’t the case,” Gloyn said.
“If you were going to design a PTEN inhibitor…there’d be a strong chance you’d have cancer like properties,” Gloyn said. “It’s like a ying yang – you’d have an increased risk of cancer, but a decreased risk of diabetes.”
Gloyn said that because of this duality, it’s important to know exactly what the target effects will be when developing new drugs.
Source: Fox News
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