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Protein May Tie Obesity to Diabetes

3:16pm, January 19, 2001

The high incidence of obesity among people with type II diabetes suggests a connection between the two conditions. Scientists have sought a link by studying insulin resistance, the trademark symptom of type II, or adult-onset, diabetes. But they still don't know why cells in people with insulin resistance ignore insulin's signals to process blood glucose for use by muscles and other tissues.

Researchers working with mice have now identified a hormone, called resistin, that is secreted by fat cells and appears to play a direct role in type II diabetes. Healthy mice given doses of extra resistin for 2 days develop insulin resistance, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia report in the Jan. 18 Nature.

Interestingly, obese mice naturally produce copious resistin, says study coauthor Mitchell A. Lazar, a molecular endocrinologist at Pennsylvania. When given drugs that inhibit the effects of resistin, these overweight mice process glucose more

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