Study uncovers protein that sparks inflammatory response leading to insulin resistance

It has long been known that overactive immune cells can cause inflammation throughout the body, leading to insulin resistance and eventually type 2 diabetes. Now, a new study from University of California, San Diego researchers has found a protein that plays a vital part of regulating this process.

Their findings, which were published in the Journal of the European Molecular Biology Association, indicate that the protein FoxO1 partially regulates the activity of macrophages - a type of white blood cell that responds to invasions from foreign bodies but can also become overactive, causing swelling.

This is particularly harmful for people who already experience swelling, such as obese individuals. The added inflammation caused by overactive macrophages may contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes.

"It gets the macrophage armed and ready," said Jerrold Olefsky, who led the study. "FoxO1 primes macrophages to respond exuberantly to inflammation, but obviously you don't want that to go on very long."

He added that the findings could lay the groundwork for future treatments that use the FoxO1 protein as a target to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.
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