If you keep up with diabetes research, you will often be amazed by what scientists can learn and produce. Recently, a group of researchers learned what may give a certain drug the potential to reverse obesity, liver issues and metabolic disorders - which includes diabetes.
Scientists at the University of Michigan in the lab of Alan Saltiel have examined the drug amlexanox in trials with mice, and are interested in its possibilities for treating obesity and metabolic disorders in humans in the future, according Diabetes in Control. This is not the first round of diabetes research featuring amlexanox, but the academics now understand the mechanism that allows the drug to work. It functions by raising the amount of a messenger molecule called cAMP in specialized fat cells. The molecule then triggers the body to burn fat more quickly. It also causes fat cells to produce a hormone that circulates to the liver and reduces the production of glucose, lowering blood sugar. Amlexanox shows great promise - and the study also demonstrates how different parts of the body communicate when it comes to obesity and diabetes.
"We know that amlexanox works to reverse obesity and insulin resistance in part by resolving chronic inflammation and increasing energy expenditure, but that's not the whole story of the drug's effects," Shannon Rielly, the study's first author, said in a release. "Understanding how the drug also enables crosstalk between fat cells and the liver in obese mice allows us to see more of the amlexanox picture - and also sheds light on communication between different tissues in the body."
Scientists know that obesity provokes a state of chronic inflammation in the body, specifically in the liver and in fat tissues. This inflammation increases levels of two kinases, cell-regulating proteins that researchers believe play a role in obesity itself. Amlexanox works to reverse and ameliorate these effects.
What does this mean for people with diabetes?
Amlexanox as a diabetes drug for humans may be far in the future, considering the necessity of human trials and further analysis of its mechanisms and safety. However, this study is yet another development that demonstrates how quickly diabetes research is progressing, and how scientists are beginning to understand the relationship between several factors in the development of the disease. Diabetes patients should take heart in these discoveries, and should know that researchers are working every day to learn more about diabetes and the best available treatments for it.