Fruit fly hormone research uncovers potential diabetes insights
10 August 2012 16:54 in Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs
A new study focusing on the manipulation of hormones among fruit flies could offer a new insight into potential treatments for diabetes.
Wake Forest University has published research which reveals that turning off an enzyme called AMP-activated kinase among fruit flies can prevent stimulation of the secretion of the adipokinetic hormone, the functional equivalent of glucagon.
Typically, this hormone is responsible for releasing stored sugar within the body to provide hyperactive energy that stimulates the fly to find food, but this reaction can be deactivated through this new method, even in the face of starvation.
The ability to control blood sugar levels in this way could prove significant to efforts to create drugs for conditions such as weight gain and diabetes.
Wake Forest's associate professor of biology Erik Johnson said: "Since fruit flies and humans share 30 percent of the same genes and our brains are essentially wired the same way, it suggests that this discovery could inform metabolic research in general and diabetes research specifically."
Earlier this year, a team from the Scripps Research Institute carried out research using fruit flies to reveal new insights into how the process of forgetting memories works on a biological level.
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