MAHE team makes discoveries related to insulin

MAHE team makes discoveries related to insulin

Scientists at School of Life Sciences (SOLS), Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), have identified genes influenced by inflammatory mediator, interleukin-6, on endothelial cells associated with insulin resistance, Dr K Satyamoorthy, director, SOLS, has said.

Dr Satyamoorthy, who is also the leader of the team, said that the key genes could be the reason why Type 2 Diabetic (T2D) patients suffer from vascular diseases in spite of controlling the glucose levels by insulin or anti-diabetic drugs.

The extensive research was published in the scientific journal, ‘Laboratory Investigations’, a springer-nature journal.

Dr Satyamoorthy said that the hypothesis behind morbidity associated with vascular diseases in T2D, even after strict control of glucose levels, is due to metabolic memory. “This is based on epigenetic mechanisms and can be regulated by factors such as inflammation, hyperglycemia, or stress. Studying these epigenetic mechanisms was therefore important and led to the discovery of new genes and mechanisms,” he said.

Normal levels of IL-6 produced by immune cells protect the body from pathogens during infections. However, conditions such as diabetes are associated with sterile inflammation. Increased production of IL-6 levels leads to deleterious effects and may even cause insulin resistance, he explained.

Dr Manjunath B Joshi, primary scientist added, “It has long been known that the inflammatory molecule IL-6 concentrations are high in the serum of T2D patients. We had been studying the IL-6 influences endothelial cells and the possible role in disturbing insulin function. Our work links high IL-6 levels with decreased insulin function and investigates underlying epigenetic mechanisms”.

Ashwath Balakrishnan, a PhD scholar associated with the work at MAHE, said, “Epigenetic changes caused by key enzyme, DNMT1 is destabilised in response to IL-6. This leads to disturbed production of nitric oxide and hence insulin is unable to impart its normal function.”

Dr Vinod Bhat, Vice Chancellor of MAHE, said, “MAHE is supporting molecular genetics programme as there is plenty to discover to the benefit of patients. Majority of the T2D subjects suffer from vascular diseases and it is important to study vascular endothelial cells to identify newer therapeutic interventions to restore normal function of the endothelial cells.”

Dr H S Ballal, Pro Chancellor for MAHE, said, “We have been striving for societal benefit through our network of hospitals, education institutions with special emphasis on research and developmental activities. The work being carried out at the SOLS is critical to manage chronic diseases and may lead to better clinical practices.”

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