To Combat Diabetes, Lab-Grown Muscle Sucks Up Sugar

According to recent research, Israeli scientists have discovered a novel approach that may one day be used to treat type 2 diabetes.

Your muscles not only aid in movement but also regulate blood sugar levels. This is because muscles consume sugar, or glucose, as fuel, which causes the blood to be cleared of it and lowers blood sugar levels.

The largest tissue in the body by mass, skeletal muscle demands a significant amount of the body’s overall energy, according to Hagit Shoyhet-Smoilovsky, a researcher at the Israel Institute of Technology. When blood glucose levels in the body are stable, or in a state of “glucose homeostasis,” it is “responsible for taking up a considerable percentage of glucose from the blood, making it vital.”

Shoyhet-Smoilovsky claims that this technique is less effective in people with type 2 diabetes. Glucose is transported into cells by the hormone insulin, but because type 2 diabetes is frequently accompanied by insulin resistance, which occurs when cells don’t respond adequately to insulin, it may be more difficult for muscles to get glucose.

Exercise is one of the first interventions for diabetes that is suggested since it might increase the amount of sugar that your muscles use. To control their blood sugar, many individuals still need to take medication and, in some situations, administer daily insulin injections.

However, researchers have now discovered a way to genetically modify muscle such that it can absorb a lot more sugar than usual. Researchers are now working with human muscle cells after earlier experiments with mouse muscle cells produced encouraging findings. This most recent study, which has not yet been published, was presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes’ annual meeting in Stockholm, Sweden.

According to Shoyhet-Smoilovsky, the plan is to inject the tissue into diabetic patients to improve their muscle’s capacity to remove glucose from the circulation and regulate blood sugar. If this treatment works, it might eventually lessen the requirement for insulin shots.

Developing Muscle

GLUT4, also known as glucose transporter type 4, is crucial in this situation. This protein aids in the absorption of sugar so that cells may utilise it for energy when insulin is present. The group increased the production of GLUT4 in human muscle cells.

These cells were employed to develop 3D muscle-like tissue that had the consistency and texture of muscle. According to Shoyhet-Smoilovsky, the researchers discovered that the new tissue absorbed 50% more sugar than regular muscle tissue using a fluorometer to quantify glucose molecules. The tissue was surgically implanted into diabetic mouse models, and within a month, the mice’s blood sugar levels dropped by 20%.

In addition, the researchers created a flexible scaffold that would enable injection of the tissue using a syringe, enabling injection of the medication as opposed to surgery, according to Shoyhet-Smoilovsky.

Future Steps

Before the treatment can be tested on humans, several steps must be completed. Using a patient’s own muscle cells to lessen the likelihood of rejection may be tried if all goes well and they reach the stage of human trials.

According to Shoyhet-Smoilovsky, the objective is not to replace lifestyle modifications that can significantly lower and control diabetes.

We simply want to provide more resources to combat the sickness, she says. This kind of equipment is desperately needed.

Nevertheless, this technology may lead to new treatments that imitate the benefits of exercise. For example, it might be used to treat diseases of the muscles such multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and neuromuscular disorders, or to improve muscle mass in elderly or people with limited mobility.

“According to Shoyhet-Smoilovsky, “We think our technique can be helpful in other skeletal muscle-related illnesses as well. Of course, each kind of illness will need to be researched separately.”

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