By injecting a hormone produced by fat and other tissues into mice, researchers report in the November Cell Metabolism that they significantly lowered blood sugar levels in normal and obese mice. The findings suggest that the hormone known as apelin might be a promising target for managing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance, in which normal amounts of insulin are insufficient to lower blood sugar (glucose) levels, is a precursor to diabetes.
“The effects of apelin appear to be similar to insulin,” although they operate in different ways, said Isabelle Castan-Laurell of Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale and Université de Toulouse.
Earlier studies had suggested a link between apelin and insulin, Castan-Laurell said. Apelin levels were shown to parallel insulin levels in mice and humans. Apelin levels in the blood also rise in those who are obese and in those with type 2 diabetes.
Those findings led the researchers to suspect that apelin and insulin might have other similarities.