A compound named AdipoRon is being touted by Japanese researchers as a first step towards making an oral treatment for diabetes a possibility.
A study entitled "A small-molecule AdipoR agonist for type 2 diabetes and short life in obesity" conducted by scientists at the University of Tokyo in Japan was published on Oct. 30, 2013 at Nature.com. The results of the study are very promising for the millions of people affected by diabetes worldwide.
"Adiponectin secreted from adipocytes binds to adiponectin receptors AdipoR1 and AdipoR2, and exerts antidiabetic effects via activation of AMPK and PPAR-α pathways, respectively," noted the study published on Nature.com.
What is adiponectin? It is a kind of protein derived from adipocytes. Adipocytes are lipocytes or fat cells, which have adipose tissues that are responsible for storing energy as fat. Adiponectin reportedly plays a key role in the development of insulin resistance and atherosclerosis, the building up of plaque in the arteries which leads to stroke, heart attack or death.
The authors of the study led by Miki Okada-Iwabu, Masato Iwabu and Toshimasa Yamauchi identified synthetic small-molecule AdipoR agonists that are orally active.
According to the study, the researchers used mice to examine AdipoR's effects on a living organism. First, the mice were fed with a fatty diet to mimic humans who eat fatty food. The researchers found out that one of the agonists, which is a compound called AdipoR (AdipoRon), was similar to adiponectin and displayed glucose intolerance and improved insulin resistance in the mice.
"Thus, orally active AdipoR agonists such as AdipoRon are a promising therapeutic approach for the treatment of obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes," the researchers concluded in the study.
"We aim to launch clinical tests in a few years," researcher Toshimasa Yamauchi told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The other researchers involved in the study are Teruki Honma, Mamiko Yamaguchi, Tomomi Kimura-Someya, Ken-ichi Hamagami, Koichi Matsuda, Mikako Shirouzu, Kohjiro Ueki, Hiroaki Tanabe, Hitomi Ogata, Takashi Kadowaki, Kumpei Tokuyama, Shigeyuki Yokoyama and Tetsuo Nagano.
Diabetes, a debilitating disease that leads to a myriad of complications such as kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and blindness, can be identified through abnormally high blood glucose levels in the body which is caused by the inability to produce and/or use insulin.
It can be categorized into Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes which was known as juvenile diabetes, is usually detected in childhood. Type 2 diabetes is more commonly seen in adults, especially if they are inactive or obese. On the other hand, Gestational diabetes is diagnosed during pregnancy. Even if a woman never had diabetes before she got pregnant, it doesn't mean that she can't contract the disease during this delicate period.
The AdipoRon compound may be the thing needed to make an effective oral treatment for diabetes, but further research and trials must be done to prove its efficacy, which could take a lot of years. Until then, those who are affected by diabetes should continue to eat healthy low-glycemic food and exercise regularly to maintain their blood sugar levels and weight. This goes for those don't have diabetes too. After all, Benjamin Franklin's famous quote "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," is applicable in this case.
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