Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Diabetes and cancer: A shared biological basis

Date:
October 3, 2011
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Contrary to what you might think, cancer and diabetes appear to have some biology in common. According to a new study, a pathway that initially drew attention for its role in embryonic stem cells and cancer also influences the odds that mice develop or resist diabetes.

Contrary to what you might think, cancer and diabetes appear to have some biology in common. According to a report in the September 30th issue of the Cell Press journal, Cell, a pathway that initially drew attention for its role in embryonic stem cells and cancer also influences the odds that mice develop or resist diabetes.

Mice with high levels of the cancer-promoting proteins Lin28a or Lin28b become more sensitive to insulin and less prone to diabetes when on a high-fat diet, the new study shows.

"This highlights the overlap in the biology of these disorders," said George Daley of Harvard Medical School. "It may be the same kinds of metabolic shifts that allow cancer cells to grow are also related to [whole-body] glucose metabolism."

In fact, there were clues about such a connection, but "no obvious mechanism," he says. For instance, studies have shown that cancer cells within a tumor are able to grow more rapidly by shifting the way they use glucose. Genome-wide association studies for type 2 diabetes have also pinpointed several susceptibility genes with known links to cancer or the cell cycle.

Daley's team, including first authors Hau Zhu and Ng Shyh-Chang, had noticed earlier that an immature form of the microRNA (tiny bits of RNA that silence genes by targeting messenger RNA) known as let-7 is abundant in stem cells. "It allows stem cells to be stem cells," Zhu says.

Let-7 is also important in preventing cancer, Zhu explained, and its activity is blocked by the cancer-promoting RNA-binding protein Lin28. Lin28 is also known as an ingredient that can help turn skin cells into embryonic stem cell-like cells.

"Mice with too much Lin28 grow really large," Zhu said based on their earlier work. "They are giant mice and they soak up glucose really efficiently." The new study shows that Lin28 transgenic mice are also resistant to diabetes and obesity. That resistance holds even as the mice grow older, said Shyh-Chang.

Mice lacking Lin28a or that have increases in let-7 become insulin resistant and have impaired glucose tolerance. These metabolic changes occurred in part through effects linked to the insulin-PI3K-mTOR pathway, which is important in cancer and basic metabolism.

Importantly, the researchers also found that let-7 acts on many genes with apparent links to type 2 diabetes and glucose control in humans. This may prove to be good news for those in search of new ways to tackle complex conditions like diabetes, which have many genetic drivers, each with relatively small effects.

"MicroRNAs touch multiple targets in subtle ways," Shyh-Chang said. "Our findings suggest that let-7 and perhaps other microRNAs may help to unify the picture of how type 2 diabetes develops."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hao Zhu, Ng Shyh-Chang, Ayellet V. Segrè, Gen Shinoda, Samar P. Shah, William S. Einhorn, Ayumu Takeuchi, Jesse M. Engreitz, John P. Hagan, Michael G. Kharas, Achia Urbach, James E. Thornton, Robinson Triboulet, Richard I. Gregory, David Altshuler, George Q. Daley. The Lin28/let-7 Axis Regulates Glucose Metabolism. Cell, 2011; 147 (1): 81-94 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.08.033

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Diabetes and cancer: A shared biological basis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110929122747.htm>.
Cell Press. (2011, October 3). Diabetes and cancer: A shared biological basis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110929122747.htm
Cell Press. "Diabetes and cancer: A shared biological basis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110929122747.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) — Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) — Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) — At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins