type 2 diabetes

Researchers from Spain have investigated targeting a protein, S6K1, that is involved in muscle size, as a potential way of treating type 2 diabetes.

The key problem in type 2 diabetes is that the body develops insulin resistance; that is an inability to properly respond to its own insulin. As insulin resistance develops, the body tries to compensate for this by increasing the number of beta cells (the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin) in order to producing more insulin than usual.

The researchers, from the Laboratory of Cancer Metabolism at IDIBELL, inhibited the S6K1 protein in mice fed a high calorie diet and compared the results with mice that were untreated and on the same diet.

Increased insulin sensitivity

The results showed that the treated mice that lacked S6K1 became more sensitive to insulin and therefore did not need to produce as much insulin. The increased insulin sensitivity meant that these mice did not develop type 2 diabetes suggesting that deletion or inhibition of S6K1 could help to prevent the condition.

S6K1 has been shown to mediate levels of oxidative stress, which is involved in a range of problems ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to cancer, as well as diabetes. One of the next stages for research will be to see whether inhibiting S6K1 results in any significant side effects.

The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.