Slowing glucose production in the liver could treat type 2 diabetes

Slowing the production of glucose in the liver could treat type 2 diabetes, according to new research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The study, conducted on mice, discovered that a particular liver protein could control the production of blood glucose. Inhibiting this protein lowered the blood glucose levels of a group of mice.

To achieve the desired effect, the researchers experimented with a range of different drugs. The investigational drug MSDC-0602 was the most successful. Its manufacturer, Metabolic Solutions Development Company, have stated that MSDC-0602 is being tested as a treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Previous research has suggested that interfering with the transportation of the glucose building block pyruvate could reduce the production of glucose in the liver. This study found the particular protein that needs to be blocked – mitochondrial pyruvate carrier 2 (MPC 2), thereby taking the research further. No other study has examined the important link between MPC2 and glucose production in the liver.

The findings could have great potential for new type 2 diabetes treatments. That said, it is still at a preliminary stage, and has not yet been found to work on humans. Nevertheless, the researchers are optimistic.

“A drug that shuts down glucose production has the potential to help millions of people affected by the most common form of diabetes,” said lead author Professor Brian N. Finck.

The findings were published in Cell Metabolism.