A Korean research team has found out the possibility of treating diabetes by controlling the interactions of muscle cell organelles.
The National Research Foundation reported on Jan. 16 that Professor Lee In-kyu of Kyungpook National University and Professor Lim Jae-chan of Daegu Catholic University have discovered that mitochondrial enzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) triggers insulin resistance in muscles by regulating cellular organelles.
The research team started out by looking for the cause of the disease in the cell organelles. As a result, researchers found that an increase in the amount of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) in muscles of obese animals leads to an excessive increase in the connections between mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum. Through this network, increased calcium influx into mitochondria resulted in mitochondrial dysfunction (failure) and insulin resistance. Conversely, a deficiency of PDK4 resulted in the suppression of mitochondrial-ER interaction and improved muscle insulin resistance.
"Following our previous study on controlling PDK4 to regulate hepatic glucose production, we discovered that controlling PDK4 can improve insulin resistance in muscle," said Professor Lee. "We will continue our research to develop a new diabetes therapy that involves suppression of PDK4."