Scientists from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai (TIFR) had revealed how glucose impacts the metabolic functions of liver and ageing, a discovery that will contribute significantly to the wellbeing of humans.
- An enzyme named SIRT1 is associated with the metabolic functions and ageing and hence became a target for developing therapeutics.
- Now, the researchers from TIFR has found how glucose regulates the function of SIRT1.
- It was found that absence or low regulation leads to diabetic-like conditions and excess and sustained feeding of glucose leads to obesity and enhances ageing.
Metabolic Diseases and Feeding
- Many metabolic diseases in humans and animals are related to high-calorie content in the body.
- These diseases, as many studies have shown, are due to wrong feeding regimen.
- Every organism evolved to feed and fast alternately and understanding this cycle is a must.
- The cycle, known as the feed-fast cycle is the basic pattern and the metabolism-related to this is taken care of by the liver.
Role of Glucose
- Researchers discovered that glucose plays an important role in regulating the function of the SIRT1 enzyme and thereby the feed-fast cycle.
- SIRT1 is known to maintain the everyday feed-fast cycle of the body and is also associated with ageing.
- In a normal healthy body, SIRT1 levels increase during the fasting period and decrease during the feed period.
- This cycle is important for glucose and fat metabolism.
- Though the role of SIRT1 in metabolism is known for many years, the metabolic factors that increase and decrease the functions of SIRT1 are unknown.
- In the fed state, glucose restricts the activity of SIRT1 and in the absence of it results in hyperglycaemia, a condition found in the diabetic state.
- The researchers also found that sustained calorie intake leads to the reduction of SIRT1 activity and increases ageing and obesity.
- The study thus shows that over-activation and under-activation of SIRT1 will lead to diseases.
The findings of the research will help in fighting lifestyle disease and ageing-related diseases. To further this, the research team is now investigating whether small chemical molecules or drugs can activate SIRT1 and increase or decrease its levels and which can be used in clinics.