Virginia Tech researchers discover link between insulin response and energy producer in pre-diabetic people


vtech-logoVirginia Tech researchers have identified a biomarker in pre-diabetic individuals that could help prevent them from developing Type II diabetes.

Publishing in Clinical Epigenetics, the researchers discovered that pre-diabetic people who were considered to be insulin resistant — unable to respond to the hormone insulin effectively — also had altered mitochondrial DNA.

Researchers made the connection by analyzing blood samples taken from 40 participants enrolled in the diaBEAT-it program, a long-term study run by multiple researchers in the Fralin Translational Obesity Research Center and funded by a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

Participants did not have diabetes or cardiovascular disease, but were pre-diabetic and showed signs of insulin resistance.

Blood samples revealed participants had lower amounts of mitochondrial DNA with a higher amount of methylation — a process that can change the expression of genes and mitochondrial copy numbers in cells — than healthy people.

Mitochondrion is responsible for converting chemical energy from food into energy that cells can use.

“If the body is insulin resistant, or unable to respond properly to insulin, it could affect a person’s mitochondrial function and overall energy levels,” said Zhiyong Cheng, an assistant professor of human, nutrition, foods, and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a Fralin Life Science Institute affiliate.  “Mitochondrial alterations have previously been observed in obese individuals, but this is the first time we’ve made the molecular link between insulin resistance and mitochondrial DNA changes.”

Cheng and collaborator Fabio Almeida, an assistant professor of human nutrition, foods and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a Fralin Life Science Institute affiliate, think this link could be important for treating pre-diabetic individuals to prevent Type 2 Diabetes.

According to the NIDDK, more than 2 out of 3 adults are considered overweight and more than 1 out of 3 adults are considered obese. The growing epidemic of obesity is largely attributed to energy overconsumption — taking in more food calories than the body burns through physical activity.

“There is no known cure for Type 2 diabetes, and early diagnosis and intervention is critical to prevent this disease,” said Almeida. “Discovery of the biomarker in obese, pre-diabetic individuals advances our understanding of how diabetes develops and provides evidence important for future diagnosis and intervention.”



uva basketball team of destiny

Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Subscribe

Augusta Free Press content is available for free, as it has been since 2002, save for a disastrous one-month experiment at putting some content behind a pay wall back in 2009. (We won’t ever try that again. Almost killed us!) That said, it’s free to read, but it still costs us money to produce. The site is updated several times a day, every day, 365 days a year, 366 days on the leap year. (Stuff still happens on Christmas Day, is what we’re saying there.) AFP does well in drawing advertisers, but who couldn’t use an additional source of revenue? From time to time, readers ask us how they can support us, and we usually say, keep reading. Now we’re saying, you can drop us a few bucks, if you’re so inclined.

 


augusta free press
augusta free press
augusta free press news