Hyderabad: SCGN can reduce fat mass, say researchers

Members of the research team (from left) Anand Sharma, Yogendra Sharma, Radhika Khandelwal and Amrutha Chidananda.

Hyderabad: Researchers from Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) have demonstrated the role of protein secretagogin (SCGN) in increasing insulin action in obesity-induced diabetes. The role of SCGN in activating insulin can have far reaching implications on the present-day therapeutics meant for treatment of diabetes, which is a metabolic disorder due to defect in insulin production and secretion.

The researchers said the protein SCGN can bind with insulin and protect it from various stresses, increase its stability and add to its action. The CCMB researchers led by Dr Yogendra Sharma, and comprising Anand Sharma, Radhika Khandelwal and Amrutha Chidananda showed that an injection of SCGN in obese diabetic mice clears excess insulin from circulation and reduces fat mass.

The SCGN which treated animals also had lower levels of harmful LDL-cholesterol and lower lipid accumulation in liver cells. These findings, published in the latest issue of the journal iScience, establish SCGN as a functional insulin-binding protein with therapeutic potential against diabetes.

“While studying calcium-binding properties of SCGN, the scientists discovered a novel function of this protein in diabetes biology. It is yet another example of how quality basic science can lead to valuable applications” said Dr Rakesh Mishra, Director, CCMB.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder with a defect in insulin production, secretion or action which consequently results in high blood glucose levels. Diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s are often linked with each other. Interestingly, SCGN is found in lower quantities in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients.

In a parallel study published in Biochemistry recently, Dr Sharma’s group has also shown SCGN’s role in preventing formation of alpha-synuclein protein fibrils – a precursor for many neurodegenerative diseases. “SCGN would soon become a diagnostic marker, and one should check its potential in diabetes management,” Dr Sharma said.

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