Stress On Muscle Metabolism Could Prevent Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes

A University of Iowa study on mice found that triggering a type of metabolic stress can prevent obesity and diabetes by triggering production of a special hormone. In mice which were already overweight and developing diabetes, the hormone's presence reduced weight and even reversed the diabetes' development.

"There is a biological phenomenon known as hormesis where a little bit of stress can be a good thing," said Professor E. Dale Abel of the University of Iowa's Carver College of Medicine. The study took that expectation and looked at how it affects diabetes and obesity.

The hormone FGF21 is produced when metabolic stress is happening in the body's muscles.

Fibroblast growth factor-21 (FGF21) is produced when a specific type of metabolic stress is present. FGF21, according to the study, causes the body to better manage blood sugar levels and thus reduces body weight and improves the diabetic condition.

To test FGF21's effects, the research team applied genetic engineering to the mice in order to reduce a protein called OPA1 in their muscle tissues. This protein impedes the production of FGF21, so reducing it in tissue improves the amount of FGF21 present and used.

The research proved successful in proving the team's theory and Professor Abel says that follow-on work will look at mitochondrial stress improves metabolic stress responses and how this can be mimicked in humans without engineering.

Findings were published in the EMBO Journal.

Source: EMBO

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