Since I was diagnosed I knew (really KNEW) that insulin is required to get blood sugar metabolized. I need insulin so I can absorb the sugar into my cells. So – somehow – I missed the research and extended documentation that clarifies insulin’s role in the body.
I was reading an article the other day looking for completely unrelated information when I stumbled over the phrase: “insulin is not needed for glucose uptake…” *insert needle scratching across record sound here –if you’re old enough to remember that noise* Wait – clearly unfounded nonsense, right?!?!?!? – The article I was reading is here: http://www.jissn.com/content/1/2/7
The great thing about the author above was the fact that references were included and I could find more references and follow my own chain of questions/explanations. His reference was here: http://joe.endocrinology-journals.org/cgi/reprint/170/1/13 and I think it is a great launching point.
I came away with a few important new understandings:
· Insulin acts to inhibit glucose production by the liver
· In vivo with heightened glucose levels, Insulin does increase the number of glucose receptors to increase glucose uptake but its place in a normal system is primarily to down regulate the liver’s production of glucose
· Glucagon plays in the opposing role, increasing the livers production of glucose
Anyone with a biochem class or a little medical training will undoubtedly noticed that I’ve removed reference to the other functions of the above hormones and not paid particular attention to many of the other details that go into the above information. I apologize – but for me, it is enough (for now) to have a better understanding about what is happening with the blood sugar itself (and why).
Okay – so this long winded description of my path to information you may have already known is to talk for a moment about a really interesting study I saw mentioned from UT Southwestern researchers: http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/utsw/cda/dept353744/files/626381.html
To me, the above study fits very well with the rest of the information known about how these hormones function and leads to a better understanding (if only in my mind) as to why Amalyn/Symlin seems to drop the insulin requirements so dramatically (it is, afterall, a glucagon inhibitor).
So I think it’s a fun piece of the puzzle and gives us some more things to think about in the way of paths to a possible cure.
Anyhow –I’m a novice and know the little bit I am able to glean from the articles and online resources I can find – I’d love to hear everyone else’s thoughts and for those of you who have completed/are completing formal coursework in this area – your insights are always appreciated!