Diabetes treatment also helps weight loss

 作者:厍朴     |      日期:2019-03-05 07:02:05
By James Randerson An experimental treatment for type 2 diabetes not only controls the disease, but also makes patients slimmer, say Danish researchers. Conventional treatments increase body weight by about two kilogrammes. But a six-week trial of a protein that acts directly to boost insulin production in the pancreas reduced the weight of patients by an average of 1.9 kilogrammes. Obesity is strongly linked to type 2 diabetes, so reducing patients’ weight could also improve their condition. “It’s really unique to have a weight loss,” says Jens Holst of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, who led the study. If untreated, type 2 diabetes can cause damage to organs, including the eyes and the heart. The World Health Organization estimates that cases worldwide will rocket from about 130 million to close to 270 million over the next 25 years. Insulin, which is produced by cells in the pancreas, controls levels of glucose circulating in the blood. Patients with type 2 diabetes either do not produce enough insulin, or lose their sensitivity to the hormone. Permanently high glucose levels can reduce the ability of insulin-producing cells to respond to glucose, making the problem worse. No one really understands this effect, says Joel Habener at Harvard University, US. “It’s as if the cells get tired. But if you take the pressure off by reducing glucose levels they wake up again.” Conventional treatments involve injections of insulin, or of drugs that stimulate the release of insulin from cells. Treated patients put on weight, because they retain more glucose in their bodies, rather than excreting it in urine. Holst treated 10 patients with the protein GLP-1. As expected, blood glucose levels fell in the treated patients. And the insulin-secreting cells in the pancreas began to regain their sensitivity to glucose levels. The patients lost weight because GLP-1 is also an appetite-suppressant. It delays the emptying of the stomach, making patients feel fuller for longer. Habener says that the appetite-suppressant effects of GLP-1 are already understood – but this study shows that the protein can work effectively as a treatment for diabetes. “This study tightens up the puzzle and puts the pieces closer together,” he says. Journal reference: The Lancet (vol 359,