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Protein In Liver Might Link Obesity to Diabetes

By Daniel H. Rasolt

Posted: Saturday, August 02, 2008

(Defeat Diabetes® News) -- Substances known as endocannabinoids have been shown to trigger a specific protein that has been linked to various prediabetic conditions. The specific part of the body where this protein, known as CB1, is activated, has been unknown until now.
Past research has concluded that endocannabinoids occur in larger numbers for individuals who consume high fat diets. This has also linked endocannabinoids to prediabetic conditions such as obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia (increased blood lipid levels) and lipid resistance. Endocannabinoids are compounds produced within the cells of ones body, and have a strong resemblance to the compounds found in the cannabis plant. While these connections have been established, and it is known that endocannabinoids help trigger the CB! protein that is responsible for these prediabetic conditions, it was not known if CB1 was triggered in the brain, liver or somewhere else. Researchers for this current study aimed to figure this out.
Various types of mice, manipulated to lack CB1 in specific parts of the body, were fed high fat diets. According to the study, mice lacking CB1 in the liver, while still becoming obese due to high fat diets, had a lower incidence of insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and lipid resistance, than did mice with CB1 in the liver. It was also noted that mice lacking CB1 in the liver were less likely to develop cirrhosis of the liver, which results from a "fatty liver." The results did not change for mice with or without CB1 in the brain or other tissues. This indicates that CB1 in the liver is triggered by endocannabinoids resulting from high fat diets, leading to dangerous prediabetic conditions.
The advice of all medical peoples is to not consume a high fat diet, helping prevent obesity, diabetes and a multitude of other conditions, but the findings of this study could greatly help individuals who are obese. Since CB1 in the liver appears to be the crucial compound that connects high fat diet induced endocannabinoids and certain obesity related diseases (such as diabetes), the development of medicines that attack CB1 in the liver could help prevent these potentially fatal disease in obese individuals.

Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Kunos, George. Journal of Clinical Investigation news release. August 2008.

Daniel H. Rasolt writes for Defeat Diabetes® News. Read more of his original content articles.

Copyright © 2008 Defeat Diabetes Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.

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