Scientists in Australia have made a breakthrough in research on the benefits of cell energy that could bring new ways of treating type 2 diabetes. The study found that the mechanism of energy production in cells where a crucial enzymen, called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is stimulated by two molecules, which helps it to recharge cells.
It does this by stimulating the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which then fuels the activities of the cell. When ATP is broken down, it turns into either adenosine diphosphate (ADP) or adenosine monophosphate (AMP) and is depleted. AMP then stimulates the phosphorylation of AMPK, triggering the production of more ATP.
The breakthrough for the study, which involved tests on monkey kidney cells and was published in the journal Science, was in the discovery that ADP, not just AMP, can activate AMPK.
It is hoped that the research provides a new target for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, sine the activation of AMPK in muscle cells makes them more sensitive to insulin, so drug treatments that amplify the actions of ADPs on AMPK could help to improve sensitivity to insulin and treat diabetes.
Christopher Nolan of the Australian National University Medical School in Canberra, commented “This could have big implications for the management of diabetes. If we had new ways to increase AMPK activity, we could have new ways to treat diabetes.”

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