The winter hibernation of bears may hide the secret of diabetes treatment .. How is that?

2022-11-10 2022-11-10T12:42:04Z
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Weather of Arabia - National Geographic Arabic - Scientists discover 8 proteins in bears that play a major role in preventing diabetes

With the onset of autumn, grizzly bears gobble up tens of thousands of calories, gain four kilograms a day, and move very little for months on end during their annual winter hibernation. If a person followed this diet, the health consequences would be dire, but grizzly bears do not get diseases or any harm as a result of this annual hibernation. Scientists have recently discovered 8 proteins in these bears that enable them to control insulin, and the scientific community hopes that this discovery will contribute to the treatment of diabetes in humans.

What is insulin?

Insulin is a hormone found in most mammals, and helps them regulate blood sugar levels. When the blood sugar level rises, the insulin signals the liver, muscles, and fat cells to absorb it. If the level of sugar in the bloodstream is chronically high - after eating a lot of food in the long term - the cells stop responding to the insulin signal, which is medically known as "insulin resistance". This often leads to type 2 diabetes, followed by serious health complications such as heart attack, stroke or blindness. After studying grizzly bears, researchers realized that they activate and deactivate insulin resistance; It's like pressing a certain button.

How do bears spend their time?

Grizzly bears go through three stages during the year: the activity stage, the glutton stage, and the hibernation stage. During the spring and summer, bears are busy raising young, gathering fruits and mating. In the fall, the bears enter a frenzied gluttony phase, as they dedicate most of their time and effort to eating, and the grizzly bear may eat up to about 20,000 calories in one day. Finally, winter comes, and these bears enter into a long hibernation; Hibernation here is more than just a deep sleep. "Many physiological changes give bears the ability to survive the long winter without food," says Blair Berry, co-author of the study. "They slow down metabolism, lower heart rate and body temperature, and become insulin resistant." To understand the ability of grizzly bears to control their bodies’ resistance to insulin, a group of researchers at the Bear Center at Washington State University took blood and fat cells samples from 6 caged bears, and cultured them in a laboratory to study genetic changes when interacting with blood from different seasons of the year. “This method gave us a way to perform experiments that would be impossible to perform on an adult grizzly bear,” Berry says.

During hibernation, bears experience periods of vigilance. They move around but do not usually eat. Here, the researchers served them water mixed with honey for two weeks and then collected blood samples. They had already collected blood samples from the same bears during the spring and summer seasons. Next, the team mixed blood from different seasons with cultured cells to monitor genetic changes. Of all the tested formulations, blood from bears that ate water mixed with honey was the most revealing of the eight proteins that control insulin in the bears' bodies.

A step towards treating diabetes

Since bears share most of their genes with humans, this discovery is a major step toward treating diabetes. Scientists believe that understanding the mechanism by which these eight proteins act to control insulin will be followed - not far - with a successful treatment for a disease that affects more than 350 million people around the world.

Written by: Melissa Hobson

This article was written originally in Arabic and is translated using a 3rd party automated service. ArabiaWeather is not responsible for any grammatical errors whatsoever.
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