Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Link Discovered Between Insulin And Core Body Temperature

New Link Discovered Between Insulin And Core Body Temperature

A team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have discovered a direct link between insulin - a hormone long associated with metabolism and metabolic disorders such as diabetes - and core body temperature. While much research has been conducted on insulin since its discovery in the 1920s, this is the first time the hormone has been connected to the fundamental process of temperature regulation.

The paper was published recently in an advance, online issue of the journal Diabetes, a journal of the American Diabetes Association, and will appear in the January print edition of the publication.

The scientists found that when insulin was injected directly into a specific area of the brain in rodents, core body temperature rose, metabolism increased, and brown adipose (fat) tissue was activated to release heat. The research team also found that these effects were dose-dependent - up to a point, the more insulin, the more these metabolic measures rose.

"Scientists have known for many years that insulin is involved in glucose regulation in tissues outside the brain," said Scripps Research neurobiologist Manuel Sanchez-Alavez, who was first author of the new paper with Bartfai lab colleagues Iustin V. Tabarean and Olivia Osborn (now at the University of California, San Diego). "The connection to temperature regulation in the brain is new."


The authors note that while their new paper illuminates a key piece of the puzzle of the body's metabolic processes, it also raises many intriguing questions: How does insulin get to the brain's preoptic area - does it cross the blood-brain barrier or is it produced locally? Are diabetics, who are insensitive to insulin in peripheral tissues, still sensitive to insulin in the brain; if so, could this dichotomy be used in the development of a new therapy? Could scientists find a way to use these new insights to increase energy expenditure for the purpose of weight loss?

Very interesting. I have a low body temperature, so I wonder if there's a relationship between low body temps and pre-diabetes? I wonder if anyone has found that overweight people have lower body temps- kind of a sign of slow metabolism? Insulin resistance in the brain is also an interesting prospect because dopamine needs insulin to be utilized, and low dopamine causes ADD, and ADD and obesity are related conditions.

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