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Feb 15, 2012Science and Technology
Diabetes may originate in the intestines, study shows

New research suggests that diabetes may start in the intestines. Since it is the pancreas that produces insulin and the liver that stores sugar, scientists have often looked at those organs for a cause of diabetes. However, a new study in mice that were unable to produce the fatty acid synthase (FAS) in the intestine reveals that insulin resistance could begin in the gut. FAS is an enzyme crucial to producing lipids and is regulated by insulin. The mice in the study developed chronic intestinal inflammation, a predictor of diabetes, which leads to insulin resistance. “Diabetes may indeed start in your gut,” explains principal investigator Clay F. Semenkovich. “When people become resistant to insulin, as happens when they gain weight, FAS doesn’t work properly, which causes inflammation that, in turn, can lead to diabetes.”

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