BENGALURU: Scientists of School of Life Sciences, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Manipal, have identified key genes on cells associated with insulin resistance. These genes could be the reason behind Type 2 Diabetic (T2D) subjects suffering from diseases despite controlling the glucose levels by insulin or anti-diabetic drugs.
Now, future research could focus on understanding the function(s) of these newly identified genes and also to reverse these epigenetic changes, which might help to minimise the burden of vascular diseases in T2D subjects.
Insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, plays an important role in stimulating the muscle, fat, and liver cells to consume glucose and produce energy. In the recently published paper in the scientific journal, “Laboratory Investigations,” a Springer-Nature journal, research conducted by scientists of MAHE identified key genes — influenced by inflammatory mediator, interleukin-6 (IL-6) — on endothelial cells (which line the blood vessels throughout the body) associated with insulin resistance.
Normal levels of IL-6 produced by immune cells protect the body from pathogens during infections; however, conditions such as diabetes are associated with sterile inflammation where there is increased production of IL-6 levels, which cause insulin resistance.
Dr Manjunath B Joshi, primary scientist for the study, said, “It has long been known that the inflammatory molecule IL-6 concentrations are high in serum of T2D subjects and we were wondering how IL-6 influences endothelial cells and if there is a role in disturbing insulin function. Our work links high IL-6 levels with decreased insulin function and investigates underlying epigenetic mechanisms.”
In individuals with diabetes who respond differently to insulin (insulin-resistant conditions), these endothelial cells do not function and lose their tone and elasticity.