DEBInet Nutrition Blog » Blog Archive How exercise improves insulin action in type 2 diabetes

Author: Dr. oec. Christina Bächle, editor: Dr. Bertil Kluthe
© Kluthe Foundation Nutrition and Health

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Scientists at the German Diabetes Center in Düsseldorf have found a new signaling pathway that shows how specific muscle work enhances the effect of insulin in people with diabetes. This mechanism of action could contribute to the development of new active ingredients in the future.

Is sport murder? Even if many complain about the effort of physical activity, it has long been known that sport promotes physical performance, is good for health and increases well-being. Regular physical activity can protect against the development of type 2 diabetes. Because exercise and muscle contraction, along with the hormone insulin, cause more sugar (glucose) to be absorbed from the blood into muscle cells. This lowers blood sugar levels for a longer period of time.

If people have type 2 diabetes, the body’s own insulin can only insufficiently lower blood sugar. It’s called insulin resistance. The body tries to compensate for this by increasing the release of insulin. However, the blood sugar level rises. Interestingly, people with type 2 diabetes can lower their blood sugar levels through targeted physical activity despite insulin resistance. In this way, they can help slow the progression of the disease.

However, until now, little is known about the signaling pathways used by working muscles and insulin to smuggle sugar into cells. The current research work led by Prof. Hadi Al-Hasani and Dr. Alexandra Chadt from the Institute of Clinical Biochemistry and Pathobiochemistry at the DDZ.

Together with their colleagues, they examined muscle cells in which insulin-mediated uptake of sugar from the blood was restricted. “We found an alternative signaling pathway that can be used to activate glucose uptake in muscle, even in the case of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.”describes Dr. Chadt. “Muscle cells appear to contain several signaling pathways that are required for glucose uptake from the blood.”

This finding could also be important for the development of diabetes drugs in the future. “This signaling pathway, which we refer to scientifically as AMPK/Rac1, represents a type of natural reserve mechanism and could be used for the development of new drugs for the treatment of insulin resistance and diabetes.”, explains Prof. Al-Hasani, Director of the Institute for Clinical Biochemistry and Pathobiochemistry at the DDZ. Al-Hasani continues: “The role of this mechanism in the development of different subtypes of diabetes, especially when there is little improvement in blood glucose with regular exercise, needs to be further investigated in future studies.”

written by dr. oec. trophic Christina Bächle on April 28, 2022 at 08:03

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