Muscle enzyme deficiency linked to diabetes

Research at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, USA, has shown that patients with type 2 diabetes have decreased levels of an enzyme found in the mitochondria of cells within skeletal muscle.

The enzyme, known as Sirt3, was found to be decreased by at least half in the skeletal muscle of humans and animals with diabetes, compared to those without the disease.

The study showed that when Sirt3 levels are low, the mitochondria are not as efficient in energy metabolism as they should be. When this occurs, reactive oxygen species are generated, and this may contribute to insulin resistance in the muscles.

The researchers are planning more studies to learn what proteins the enzyme acts upon. 

Furthermore, they hope to find ways to either restore levels of Sirt3, or increase the activity of the existing Sirt3 using a drug, thus preventing insulin resistance.

This could be useful in the treatment of prediabetes, where insulin