Hormone in Fruit Flies Sheds Light on Diabetes Cure, Weight-Loss Drug for Humans, Wake Forest University Study

Published: Aug 09, 2012

Manipulating a group of hormone-producing cells in the brain can control blood sugar levels in the body – a discovery that has dramatic potential for research into weight-loss drugs and diabetes treatment. In a paper published in the October issue of Genetics and available online now, neurobiologists at Wake Forest University examine how fruit flies (Drosophila) react when confronted with a decreased diet. Reduced diet or starvation normally leads to hyperactivity in fruit flies – a hungry fly buzzes around feverishly, looking for more food. That happens because an enzyme called AMP-activated kinase stimulates the secretion of the adipokinetic hormone, which is the functional equivalent of glucagon. This hormone acts opposite of insulin, as it tells the body to release the sugar, or food, needed to fuel that hyperactivity. The body uses up its energy stores until it finds food.

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