A new study by scientists in the US has found that brain insulin could be a factor in the development of diabetes . A team from Mount Sinai School of Medicine shown that impaired brain insulin action could contribute to the unrestrained lipolysis that initiates and then worsens type 2 diabetes .
They started by infusing a small amount of insulin into the brains of rats, before reviewing glucose and lipid metabolism levels for the whole body. From this, they discovered that brain insulin was able to suppress lipolysis, where triglycerides in fat are broken down, releasing fatty acids .
The research, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, also found that for mice without the brain insulin receptor, lipolysis was unrestrained. Fatty acids can have a negative impact on diabetes, particularly if they are released once a person has just eaten, common for diabetics .
Christoph Buettner, lead author of the study, commented “The major lipolysis-inducing pathway in our bodies is the sympathetic nervous system and here the studies showed that brain insulin reduces sympathetic nervous system activity in fat tissue . In patients who are obese or have diabetes, insulin fails to inhibit lipolysis and fatty acid levels are increased.”
He added “When brain insulin function is impaired, the release of fatty acids is increased. This induces inflammation, which can further worsen insulin resistance, the core defect in type 2 diabetes. Therefore, impaired brain insulin signaling can start a vicious cycle since inflammation can impair brain insulin signaling. This cycle is perpetuated and can lead to type 2 diabetes.”

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