Understanding Insulin Sensitivity and Diabetes

Nih.gov: April 9, 2012.
A new discovery helps explain how adipose tissue (fat) affects insulin sensitivity and results in type 2 diabetes. The finding may lead to new strategies for treating the disease.

Diabetes is a disorder in the way the body uses glucose, a sugar that serves as fuel for the body. When blood glucose levels rise, the pancreas normally makes the hormone insulin, which signals cells to take sugar from the blood. Fat cells store excess glucose in the form of lipids (fats). In the most common form of diabetes, type 2, cells lose their sensitivity to insulin.

About 80% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, but the connection between adipose tissue and insulin sensitivity has been difficult to decipher. A research team led by Drs. Barbara Kahn and Mark Herman of Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center set out to investigate. Their work was funded primarily by NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). It appeared in the advance online edition ofNature on April 1, 2012. Read More