After We Eat: The Body's Blood Sugar Controls

Discovery about insulin secretion could impact diabetes control

(RxWiki News) Scientists at the University of Leicester have identified a new method by which the human body controls sugar levels in the blood after we eat a meal.

According to Professor Andrew Tobin, leader of the team who made the discovery, a specific protein helps to regulate the levels of sugar in our blood.

The protein, called the M3-muscarinic receptor, is present on the cells that release insulin from the pancreas. Tobin and his team found that correct levels of sugar are maintained if the M3-muscarinic receptor is active. Additionally, the protein must undergo a change that controls insulin release and blood sugar levels.

Insulin is a hormone that causes cells in the liver, muscle, and and fat tissue to absorb sugars in the blood. Diabetes patients suffer from symptoms associated with high blood sugar because their bodies do not produce enough insulin. Professor Tobin's team intends to see if the M3-muscarinic receptor is involved in the onset of diabetes, and if it holds a secret to treating the disease.

Tobin further explains: "Without the change in the M3-muscarinic receptor, protein sugar levels go up in the same way that we see in diabetes. We are of course testing if the mechanism of controlling sugar levels we have discovered is one of the mechanisms disrupted in diabetes. If this were the case then our studies would have important implications in diabetes." 

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Review Date: 
November 29, 2010