Researchers uncover enzyme that increases risk of type 2 diabetes

A team of researchers from the University of California have found an enzyme that plays a major role in processing fat. They believe that their findings could lead to the development of new drugs capable of significantly reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related diseases.

The team found that actions of the enzyme histone deacetylase 9 (HDAC9) can lead to obesity-induced fat dysfunction. During times of overeating, the enzyme blocks the conversion of adipose fat tissue into "functional fats" which are capable of storing excess calories efficiently for future use. This increases the risk of developing diabetes.

However, researchers said that pharmacological intervention to prevent these actions could greatly reduce this risk.

"Failure of fat cells to differentiate and properly store excess calories in obesity is associated with adipose tissue inflammation, fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, diabetes and increased cardiovascular diseases," said Tapan Chatterjee. "Our findings may help lead researchers to targeted therapies that may prevent the development of obesity-related disorders in humans."

The team is planning further mouse studies to determine the effect of blocking HDAC9.