A naturally occurring peptide in the body has shown to improve glucose and insulin tolerance in a new study of obese mice, researchers reveal.
Catestatin (CST) helps to regulate cardiac function and blood pressure, but the peptide has now demonstrated to have additional benefits. A peptide is a short chain of amino acids that regulates biological functions in the body.
Scientists from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that CST can help prevent fat gain in the liver, reduce inflammation and improve blood sugar regulation.
A study of obese mice treated with CST revealed the peptide had an anti-inflammatory effect, and now researchers are considering its viability as a prospective treatment for type 2 diabetes.
“The net results are improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Therefore, this peptide has immense potential for an anti-obesity reagent as well as a novel drug to treat type 2 diabetes,” said lead author Sushil K. Mahata, PhD.
In obesity, accumulation of lipids (fat cells) can cause fatty liver, which damages the organ. Subsequently, the body activates macrophages, immune cells which promote inflammation and encourage insulin resistance and metabolic disease.
When CST was administered in mice of a healthy weight, CST had no effect on insulin or glucose tolerance, indicating the effect is specific to treating obesity.
Mahata added: “The improved glucose and insulin sensitivity with CST treatment may be partly explained by the anti-inflammatory effects of catestatin on the liver.
“We have identified a novel pathway for suppression of liver glucose production that could be used to compensate for the loss of naturally occurring CST or to bolster its impact. But further studies are needed to uncover how CST suppresses liver inflammation to improve metabolism.”
The researchers now plan additional trials to assess how CST suppresses liver inflammation, and the results will need to be replicated in humans before any treatment plans are instigated.
The findings have been published in the journal Diabetes.
Editor’s note: Studies such as these are of course fascinating, but among humans with type 2 diabetes there is already a proven method in improving metabolism, reducing fatty liver and normalising blood glucose levels. Our Low Carb Program has helped thousands put their type 2 diabetes into remission through eating a diet high in healthy fats and low in sugar.

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