Researchers figure out why obesity triggers diabetes

Sydney, July 11 ( Are you obese? Beware, for there is a high chance that you can become diabetic. The link between the two has now been scientifically validated.

A team led by Matthew Watt, associate professor at Monash University, discovered that fat cells release a protein called PEDF (pigment epithelium-derived factor) which triggers a chain of events and interactions that lead to development of Type-2 (T-2) diabetes.

“When PEDF is released into the bloodstream, it causes the muscle and liver to become desensitised to insulin. The pancreas then produces more insulin to counteract these negative effects,” said Watt.

“This insulin release causes the pancreas to become overworked, eventually slowing or stopping insulin release from the pancreas leading to T-2 diabetes.”

“It appears that the more fat tissue a person has the less sensitive they become to insulin. Therefore a greater amount of insulin is required to maintain the body’s regulation of blood-glucose,” Watt added.

“Our research was able to show that increasing PEDF not only causes T-2 diabetes like complications but that blocking PEDF reverses these effects. The body again returned to being insulin-sensitive and therefore did not need excess insulin to remain regulated.”

Watt said identifying the link is a significant breakthrough in explaining the reasons why obesity triggers the onset of T-2 Diabetes, said a Monash University release.

“Until now scientists knew there was a very clear pattern and had strong suspicions that a link existed between the two conditions, but our understanding of the chain of events that are caused by the release of PEDF shows a link,” Watt said.

“We already know that weight-loss generally improves the management of blood glucose levels in diabetes patients. We can begin to design new drugs to improve the treatment of Type-2 diabetes,” Watt said.

The findings were published Friday in Cell Metabolism.