A small protein, Sestrin 3, has been identified as having a big role in reducing blood glucose and increasing insulin sensitivity.
Researchers at the Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine indicated in their report that Sestrin 3 could be important in regulating molecular pathways that control glucose production and insulin sensitivity in the liver.
Published online in Diabetes, the journal of the American Diabetes Associatio, the report suggests Sestrin 3 is a logical target for drug development for type 2 diabetes.
What is Sestrin 3?
Sestrin 3 is a protein that can suppress oxidative stress and regulate metabolic homeostasis, keeping the balance of high and low blood sugars.
To test its effects, researchers monitored blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity among mice with Sestrin 3 and mice genetically engineered not to produce it.
The mice were fed either a diet with 18 per cent of its calories from fat or a high-fat diet with 60 per cent of calories from fat.
The mice without the Sestrin 3 protein had elevated fasting blood glucose levels, while insulin and glucose tolerance tested significantly better in the mice with Sestrin 3.
Role in type 2 diabetes
Charlie Dong, Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the IU School of Medicine, was the lead author the study, and believes these findings could have significant bearings for preventing and treating type 2 diabetes.
“We wanted to show that Sestrin 3 had critical liver-specific functions,” said Dong. “This is a very fascinating protein. It’s not very big, but it functions in a very dynamic manner controlling glucose production and insulin sensitivity. It is an important regulator for glucose homeostasis.”

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