PGC-1 KEEPS LIVER SWEET
Diabetes therapy gets an important new lead from two papers in this week’s Nature (Vol. 413, No. 6852, 13 Sep 2001). Two groups report that the protein PGC-1 is the elusive cornerstone of the pathway that regulates healthy glucose metabolism in the liver. This pathway is defective in type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Glucose is the mammalian brain’s main fuel. So sophisticated control systems maintain blood glucose levels within tight limits in the face of large fluctuations in food and carbohydrate intake.
Suppressing PGC-1 inhibits the generation and the breakdown of glucose in cultured liver cells and in living rats, say Bruce M. Spiegelman of Dana-Farber Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues, and Marc Montminy of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California, and colleagues.
"Together these papers present a convincing body of data implicating PGC1 as a key signalling element involved in coordinating the hepatic metabolic response to fasting," say Antonio Vidal-Puig and Stephen O’Rahilly of the University of Cambridge, UK, in an accompanying News and Views article. The improvement in our knowledge of the molecular controls of glucose production in the liver "may permit the design of more specific targeted therapies."
Bruce M. Spiegelman
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(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza