Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Brain May Control Type 2 Diabetes

Altering Single Gene in the Brain of Mice Cures Abnormal Sugar Metabolism Seen in Type 2 Diabetes
WebMD Health News

Nov. 12, 2003 -- The key to curing type 2 diabetes may be in our heads, or at least in the heads of mice. A new study shows that altering a single gene in the brains of obese mice bred to have type 2 diabetes helped them completely normalize blood sugar levels.

Researchers say that it's the first study to show that glucose control may be regulated by the brain. If further research confirms these results, it could open a whole new approach to treating type 2 diabetes.

People with type 2 diabetes are unable to regulate their blood sugar (glucose) levels normally because their bodies have become resistant to insulin, which is the hormone responsible for controlling glucose in the blood.

Researchers say that obesity is thought to lead to decreased insulin sensitivity and then to type 2 diabetes. But this study suggests that obesity and type 2 diabetes may both be caused by the same genetic defect in the brain.

Brain Gene Provides Glucose Control

In the study, published in the November issue of Diabetes, researchers looked at the effect of manipulating a gene in the brain known as POMC in mice bred to be obese with type 2 diabetes.

Previous studies have shown that POMC production is reduced in the brains of obese and diabetic mice. People with mutations in this gene are also obese and diabetic. But because many genes are implicated in obesity and diabetes, it's not clear which genes, if any, play a role in regulating glucose levels.

The study showed that when the activity of POMC was increased through genetic engineering, the mice reduced their food intake slightly and lost some weight.

"But the surprising part was that the effect on glucose regulation was not partial," says researcher Charles V. Mobbs, PhD, assistant professor at the Fishberg Neurobiology of Aging Laboratories at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, in a news release. "Even though these mice remained obese, their glucose levels were completely normal."

Those findings showed that the dramatic improvement in glucose control and regulation was not related to the weight loss.

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner