New protein identified to potentially treat diabetes.

sestrine3A newly identified protein has been linked to proving a new treatment methodology for type 2 diabetes. The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department at the IU School of Medicine has published a research study examining the impact of sestrin 3 on glucose levels and insulin sensitivity.

Sestrin 3 is a member of a small family of proteins involved in suppressing oxidative stress and regulating normal cellular activity.

Mice models were used to examine the regulatory effects of Sestrin 3 and the animals were fed a diet with 18 percent of its calories from fat or a high-fat diet with 60 percent of calories from fat. The mice without the Sestrin 3 protein had elevated fasting blood glucose levels, indicative of impaired liver insulin sensitivity or poorly regulated glucose metabolism.

The mice with Sestrin 3 proteins showed better insulin and glucose tolerance tests were significantly better in the mice with the Sestrin 3 protein, suggesting that Sestrin 3 plays a critical role in hepatic insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.

“We wanted to show that Sestrin 3 had critical liver-specific functions,” Dr. Dong said. “This is a very fascinating protein. It’s not very big, but it functions in a very dynamic manner controlling glucose production and insulin sensitivity. It is an important regulator for glucose homeostasis.”


X. Charlie Dong, Ph.D. et al. Sestrin 3 Protein Enhances Hepatic Insulin Sensitivity by Direct Activation of the mTORC2-Akt Signaling. Diabetes, November 2014 DOI: 10.2337/db14-0539

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