Type 2 diabetes may originate in intestines

Type 2 diabetes and problems controlling blood glucose may originate in the intestines, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Scientists studied mice that cannot produce fatty acid synthase (FAS) in the intestine. FAS is an enzyme necessary for the production of lipids and is regulated by insulin. People with type 2 diabetes have defects in FAS.

The researchers found that mice unable to make the FAS enzyme developed chronic inflammation in the gut, known to be a strong predictor of diabetes.

Inadequate intestinal lining

Upon close inspection, researchers found that the mice with a defect in FAS had lost the protective lining of intestinal mucus, called Muc2, that separates the gut microbes from direct exposure to cells. FAS is required to keep the mucosal layer intact and protects the colon and small intestine.

The loss of the mucosal layer allowed bad bacteria to penetrate otherwise healthy cells in the guts of the mice. This caused weight loss, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.

Clay F. Semenkovich, MD, lead researcher in the study, explained:

“Diabetes may indeed start in your gut,” “When people become resistant to insulin, as happens when they gain weight, FAS doesn't work properly, which causes inflammation that, in turn, can lead to diabetes.”

Inflammation and insulin resistance - a bad combination

Inflammation and insulin resistance reinforce each other, according to the study. Inflammatory substances can cause insulin resistance, and insulin resistance is known to promote inflammation.

Scientists have long looked to the pancreas and liver for the underlying causes of diabetes since the pancreas produces insulin and the liver stores sugar. This new research suggests that diabetes originates in the intestines.

The researchers found gastrointestinal effects in the mice resembling some features of inflammatory bowel disease, and many people with diabetes develop gastrointestinal issues.

“Abdominal pain and diarrhea are some of the most common problems we see in people with diabetes,” said Semenkovich. “We could only connect these 'dots' because other experts at the university could help us link what we observed in these mice to what occurs in patients with diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.”

A paper on the research study appears in the Feb. 16 issue of the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

Source: University of Washington School of Medicine

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to BattleDiabetes.com who, in addition to 3rd party partners, may contact you with updates, products and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy and terms and conditions.

More Articles

More Articles

Scientists have discovered that a single gene forms a common link between type 2 diabetes and...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Could a person's risk for type 2 diabetes be written in their genes?

According to a study recently published in ...

Women who frequently shift around their sleeping hours could have worse metabolic health outcomes than their peers who stick with a...

The presence of the hormone leptin may hinder prenatal development, which could explain the origin of type 2 diabetes, according to...

An analysis of fossilized Native American feces shows that our ancestors ate up to sixteen times the fiber that we do today, but our...

Managing diabetes is hugely challenging for people of any age, but a new study suggests that young people may suffer all the more....

Disruptions to the gut’s ecosystem could be a future symptom facing young children who take antibiotics, which makes them more susceptible...

Breastfeeding a newborn holds many benefits for mommy and baby; it reduces the baby's risk for colds and viruses, it helps his bones (and yours)...

Fans of the Dexcom G5 Mobile have something to smile about.

At yesterday's hearing with the U.S. Food and Drug...

If you start your day with a cup of tea and end it with a glass of red wine, your blood sugar may thank you.

At least that...

As medical experts continue to debate whether or not "healthy obesity" can even exist, one new study suggests that risk for heart disease...

For years, type 1 diabetics have been anxiously waiting for that medical marvel that can stop the constant injections: the artificial...

“Low-fat” has been the battle cry of the health-conscious for over ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌...