Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism, the way our bodies use digested food for energy. Most of the food we eat is broken down into glucose, the form of sugar in the blood. Glucose is the body’s main source of fuel. After digestion, glucose enters the bloodstream. Then glucose goes to cells throughout the body where it is used for energy. However, a hormone called insulin must be present to allow glucose to enter the cells. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, a large gland behind the stomach. Diabetes occurs when pancreas secretes little or no insulin (type 1 diabetes) or your body produces too little insulin or has become resistant to insulin’s action (type 2 diabetes), the level of sugar in your bloodstream increases. This is because it’s unable to enter cells. Insulin therapy is often an important part of diabetes treatment.
Recent studies conducted at the the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, reveals the idea of how insulin interacts with the cells in the human body. During the study, they have developed and analyzed a range of super active insulins and identified the common features that point to the likely molecular structure of human insulin when it is active in the body. This new research offers new insights to how insulin bind to its receptors on cells. “The structures of inactive forms of insulin and the insulin receptor are reasonably well known, but documenting how they interact has proven to be a considerable scientific challenge”, said Dr Marek Brzozowski, from the York Structural Biology Laboratory. “Improving our understanding of this interaction holds the key to developing far more sophisticated treatments for Type I diabetes and this research represents an important step forward.”, he added. The researchers hope that this research would help in the development of insulin treatments that can be more carefully controlled or that could be delivered without the need for injections.