Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New Genetic Family Ties

Scientists have found that there is a gene that creates sensitivity to insulin so that people whose gene is impaired have a lower functioning system. A lower-functioning system leads to poor insulin tolerance and then to fat.

Here's an excerpt from the story:

In this latest piece of research, the scientists studied an enzyme called diacylglycerol kinase (DGK) delta, which is vital for maintaining the insulin sensitivity of cells. DGK delta plays a role in breaking down lipids. The researchers found that the gene which produces DGK delta is less active in the muscle tissue of people with high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes.

In the absence of this gene, the muscle cells were less sensitive to insulin and had impaired fat burning ability, increasing the person's risk of developing obesity.

The good news is that correcting blood sugar levels through exercise or drugs boosts the activity of the gene which produces DGK delta and restores the insulin sensitivity of the cells.

'The expression of this gene is reduced when blood sugar rises, but activity can be restored if blood sugar is controlled by pharmacological treatment or exercise,' explains Professor Juleen Zierath of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, who led the research. 'Our results underscore the importance of tight regulation of blood sugar for people with diabetes.'
This plays pretty well into my Inflammation Theory. Some people have a greater sensitivity than others and the norm (or the desired norm at least) is for a heightened sensitivity. Those without that sensitivity or those whose sensitivity has been burned over time have trouble with it.