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Gastroenterology: New Insights into Blood Glucose Regulation
Announced on Aug 26, 2011

TGRI's Dr. Tony Lam and his research team have published a study exploring the role of protein kinase c (PKC), a multifunctional protein involved in a wide variety of processes in the human body, in glucose regulation within the gastrointestinal tract. This work aimed to determine whether PKC located in the lining of the gut plays a role in triggering important signals to the brain and liver for the maintenance of healthy blood glucose levels.

After a period of re-feeding, rats that were given a drug that inhibits the actions of PKC in the duodenum (the first section of the small intestine) had significantly increased blood glucose levels. This drug was believed to have interfered with the correct mechanisms involved in detecting nutrients in the gut, leading to improper glucose regulation. Conversely, activation of a form of PKC (PKC-d) in the duodenum decreased blood glucose levels.

"Our research reveals a new glucose-regulatory role of duodenal PKC-d and strengthens the hypothesis that the gut has an early role in sensing nutrients available for uptake to trigger the brain to react to this nutrient imbalance," says Dr. Lam. "We believe that activation of this system in the duodenum could lower blood glucose levels in diabetes and obesity."

Duodenal mucosal protein kinase C-d regulates glucose production in rats. Kokorovic A, Cheung GWC, Breen DM, Chari M, Lam CKL, Lam TKT. Gastroenterology. 2011 Jun 22. [Pubmed abstract]

This work was supported by a research grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

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