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Diabetes producing molecule discovered in fatty tissue

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Researchers have discovered a molecule in fatty tissue that may be the reason obesity leads to diabetes. The molecule, CXCL5, produced by certain cells in fatty tissue, is found in larger amounts in obese individuals, leading researchers to believe CXCL5 plays an important role in the development of insulin resistance and diabetes.

The scientists found that inhibiting the action of CXCL5 in the fatty tissue of mice protected them from diabetes. Lluis Fajas, lead author of the research findings says, “If these studies can be confirmed in humans, this treatment would represent a fundamental improvement in the quality of life of obese individuals.”

Fajas, a researcher at the Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) in France explains that inflammation of fatty tissue is a known contributor to insulin resistance and diabetes. Obesity and lack of regular exercise promote more obesity and more inflammation in fat cells, and is crucial for the development of type 2 diabetes.

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CXCL5 is found in higher levels in obese people, leading the researchers to conclude, "The CXCL5 molecule helps cause insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes".

According to The International Diabetes Federation, 285 million people worldwide currently have diabetes. It is anticipated that by 2025, the incidence of diabetes will rise to 330 million, and eight percent of individuals with diabetes are obese at the time of diagnosis.

Preventing obesity with exercise, smoking cessation, and controlling food portions can reduce diabetes risk. Obesity prevention could reduce diabetes risk by as much as sixty percent, and should remain a focus. The new study shows that blocking CXCL5 protected mice from developing diabetes, and could lead to improved quality of life for obese individuals if the findings are replicated in human studies.

Cell Metabolism; 9(4):339-49, abril de 2009.