Scientists investigating diabetes and hypertension amongst mice have made important discoveries regarding nerve signals to the liver.
The results of the study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism and conducted at the Washington University School of Medicine, could be a breakthrough in the treatment of diabetes. The research team found that removing the vagus nerve in mice prevented or even reversed the trend of insulin resistance and high blood pressure.
Professor Semenkovich, the senior investigator in the study, said: “So at least in mice, we’ve shown we can prevent the development of diabetes and hypertension by interrupting vagal nerve signaling. We don’t know whether the same will hold true for humans, but we think somehow altering vagal nerve activity could provide a novel approach for treating these common metabolic disorders.”
The study is also tied up in the production of a nuclear receptor called Ppara. Semenkovich concluded: “Mice that can’t make Ppara don’t develop diabetes or hypertension in response to glucocorticoids. The use of steroids is very common in medicine. People with asthma, arthritis, organ transplants and others rely on those steroid drugs, and many of them go on to develop insulin resistance that can advance to diabetes and hypertension.”

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