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UI Study Lowers Glucose Levels in Diabetic Mice

Laboratory research mice at Children's Hospital Los Angeles Research Institute.

New research from the University of Iowa may one day lead to new therapies for those afflicted with Type-2 diabetes. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent reportsthe disease is the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S.  High blood sugar levels in patients with Type 2 diabetes cause series health problems like heart disease, kidney failure, stroke, and blindness.

A couple years ago a group of researchers, including UI biochemist Eric Taylor, identified the genes for a protein called the Mitchondrial Pryuvate Carrier (MPC), which is critical in controlling glucose production in the liver.

As a lead author in his most recent study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, Taylor finds that turning off MPC activity lowered blood sugar levels in mice with Type 2 diabetes.

"We also saw a decrease in fasting triglycerides and decreases in cholesterol," says Taylor. "These are all things that would be therapeutically desirable in a human patient population." 

Taylor was able to accomplish this in two ways. One group of mice were fed a high fat diet and then given a virus that turned off the MPC. Another group was breed without the MPC and fed the same diet.

In both cases glucose levels were low.

Taylor cautions it’s too early to know if this therapy is same for people, especially in people under high levels of physical stress or with other medical complications.