Research Highlights | Published:

Metabolism

Growth factor treats diabetes

Nature volume 534, page 8 (02 June 2016) | Download Citation

Injecting a protein into rodent brains triggers long-term remission of type 2 diabetes.

Certain types of protein called fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) decrease blood glucose levels when they are injected into the bloodstream of animals. To see whether they target the brain, Michael Schwartz of the University of Washington in Seattle and his colleagues injected the brains of rats and mice that had type 2 diabetes with one-tenth of the amount of FGF1 used for bloodstream injections. They found that blood glucose decreased to normal levels 7 days after injection, and stayed that way for up to about 4 months. FGF1 did not change body weight, food intake or blood insulin levels, but glucose was cleared from the circulation into the liver and skeletal muscles twice as fast in treated mice as in untreated ones.

Brain injection of FGF1 may combat diabetes by regulating neural circuits that control how the liver takes up glucose after meals, pointing the way towards possible drug targets, the authors speculate.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/534008c

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