Researchers at the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal Research Centre (CRCHUM) have discovered that a signal that promotes insulin secretion and reduces hyperglycemia in a type 2 diabetes animal model is enhanced by the inhibition of the enzyme alpha/beta hydrolase domain-6 (ABHD6). The study is published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

The secretion in the blood of insulin depends upon the utilization of glucose and fat by the beta-cells, and the production of a novel signal the researchers discovered named monoacylglycerol, according to the study.

“When sugar is being used by the insulin secreting pancreatic beta-cell, it produces monoacylglycerol, a fat-like signal and this is associated with insulin release into blood; we found that the production of monoacylglycerol is essential for glucose-stimulated insulin secretion by the beta-cell,” said Murthy Madiraju, a researcher at the CRCHUM.

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The research team is currently in the process of discovering new and potent blockers of ABHD6 that do not show any unwanted toxicity and which can be developed as potential drugs for type 2 diabetes. These studies are being done in collaboration with AmorChem Financial, Inc., and its subsidiary NuChem Therapeutics in Montreal.