We post frequently on diabetes prevention: Primarily, the need to watch one’s diet and to exercise appropriately. And within diabetes, there is typically a strong connection with chronic high blood sugar. But why? Or, as is posted on the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine site: “How is sugar, which isn’t toxic, related to a disease that affects over 29 million Americans and stands as the seventh leading cause of death in the United States?”
As the post notes, a team of Johns Hopkins scientists may have figured out the connection.
The post states: “In April 2015, postdoctoral fellow Partha Banerjee, Ph.D., and co-authors published a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesthat detailed their investigation into the damaging effects of high blood sugar on the body. Their work focused on the powerhouse of the cell — the mitochondria — which had been shown previously to be negatively affected by untreated diabetes. Banerjee sought to uncover the molecular basis for the observed mitochondrial dysfunction by comparing the mitochondria from hearts of diabetic and healthy rats.”
The team “discovered a startling difference in the amounts of two key proteins present in the diseased and healthy hearts.” This affected key enzymes that regulate levels of “O-GlcNAc-modified proteins in the cell, which are important for numerous cellular functions related to nutrient and energy processing.”
And the result is: “This inefficient energy production provides the missing link to blood sugar levels.”
The post concludes: “This direct cause-and-effect cascade is now a new, viable target for treating — and potentially preventing — diabetes.”