Low levels of specific protein leads to inactivity, increases diabetes risk

One of the most important things a person can do to combat the onset of type 2 diabetes is to lead an active life and get plenty of exercise. However, the findings of new study from the Stanford-Burnham Research Institute suggests that obese individuals may have an impaired ability to exercise, which may compound their risk for developing diabetes.

Obese individuals are known to have low levels of the protein PCG-1, which signals genes in muscle tissue to store more energy during periods of exercise. The research team reported in the journal Cell Metabolism that, lacking this protein, obese individuals don't have the energy needed to exercise.

Daniel Kelly, who led the investigation, said that the findings have major implications for the prevention of diabetes. Often, as individuals put on weight or become older, inactivity leads to insulin resistance, a precursor of diabetes.

"Part of our interest in understanding the factors that allow muscles to exercise is the knowledge that whatever this machinery is, it becomes inactive in obesity, aging, diabetes and other chronic conditions that affect mobility," he said.