Answer to diabetes lies in your body clock.
They have found that a key protein that regulates the biological clock of mammals also regulates glucose production in the liver.
The discovery, announced in Nature Medicine, could provide a new biochemical approach to develop treatments for obesity and type- 2 diabetes. It could also explain the rise in diabetes and obesity as a result of round- theclock lifestyles.
" We used to think the metabolism is regulated by hormones released from the pancreas during fasting or feeding. Our study shows the biological clock determines how well these hormones work," said Marc Montminy, of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, who led the study.
It may explain why call centre workers, whose biological clocks are often out of sync, are at greater risk of obesity and insulin resistance.
The relationship between circadian rhythm and the maintenance of a constant supply of glucose in the body has long been known. What the new study has found is that this relationship is significant.
A particular biological clock protein -- cryptochrome -- is actually regulating how the hormone that controls glucose production in the liver works in a specific way.
The protein was first discovered in the body clocks of plants. Later, it was found to have the same role in mammals.
Now scientists have found in their studies with mice that cryptochrome has another function -- regulating a process called " gluconeogenesis", in which our bodies supply glucose to keep the brain and other organs and cells functioning.
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