New research in The FASEB Journal suggests that prevalent protein found in schizophrenia also plays a direct role in the function of pancreatic beta cells, which produce insulin to maintain blood sugar levels.
There may be a genetic connection between some mental health disorders and type 2 diabetes. In a new report appearing in the February 2016 issue of The FASEB Journal, scientists show that a gene called “DISC1,” which is believed to play a role in mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and some forms of depression, influences the function of pancreatic beta cells which produce insulin to maintain normal blood glucose levels.
“Studies exploring the biology of disease have increasingly identified the involvement of unanticipated proteins–DISC1 fits this category,” said Rita Bortell, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Diabetes Center of Excellence at the Universityof Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts. “Our hope is that the association we’ve found linking disrupted DISC1 to both diabetes and psychiatric disorders may uncover mechanisms to improve therapies, even preventative ones, to alleviate suffering caused by both illnesses which are extraordinarily costly, very common, often quite debilitating.”
“Beyond the brain:
disrupted in schizophrenia 1 regulates pancreatic β-cell function via
glycogen synthase kinase-3β” by Agata Jurczyk, Anetta Nowosielska,
Natalia Przewozniak, Ken-Edwin Aryee, Philip DiIorio, David Blodgett,
Chaoxing Yang, Martha Campbell-Thompson, Mark Atkinson, Leonard Shultz,
Ann Rittenhouse, David Harlan, Dale Greiner, and Rita Bortell in FASEB Journal. Published online February 2016 doi:10.1096/fj.15-279810