NEW PROTEIN LINKS OBESITY AND DIABETES
The discovery of a new hormone that seems to link obesity to type II diabetes is reported this week in Nature (Vol. 409, No. 6818, 18 Jan 2001, pp. 307–312; News &Views). Fat tissue releases the new protein, 'resistin', which Mitchell Lazar and colleagues at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, have now linked to diabetes in various experiments with mice. Such a link has long been suspected, but the mechanism has proved difficult to find.
Resistin levels, for example, are higher in mice bred to have both diet-induced and hereditary diabetes. A commonly used anti-diabetic drug reduces the resistin levels and administering an anti-resistin antibody improves blood sugar and insulin action in mice with diet-induced obesity.
The evidence suggests that resistin is an important link between the two conditions, but many questions remain unanswered, Jeffrey Flier of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, says in an accompanying News and Views article.
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(C) Nature press release.
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