TonyLam_imageA research team led by Dr. Tony Lam, John Kitson McIvor Chair in Diabetes Research at the Toronto General Research Institute, TGH, has discovered a novel function of a hormone found in the gut that could lower glucose levels in diabetes. The research paper, "Intestinal Cholecystokinin controls Glucose Production through a Neuronal Network," appeared in the August issue of the journal Cell Metabolism. The research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Dr. Lam's team has found that activating receptors of the cholecystokinin (CCK) peptide hormone in the gut rapidly and potently lowers blood glucose levels by triggering a signal, first to the brain and then to the liver, to lower glucose or sugar production. 

"Our findings reveal a novel role for the CCK hormone and suggest that CCK-resistance in the gut may contribute to high blood sugar levels… Understanding how to overcome CCK-resistance in the gut so that blood sugars can be lowered could be a novel therapeutic approach to diabetes and obesity," says Dr. Lam. "This paper compliments our study that was published last year in Nature indicating that in the future, we may be able to design a drug to target the gut to lower glucose levels in patients with diabetes."

However, the clinical therapeutic implications of the current findings are still largely unknown, and much more time will be needed to determine whether enhancing CCK action in the gut of humans is effective and safe in lowering glucose levels in healthy individuals as well as patients with diabetes and obesity. ​​

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