HIV treatments may contribute to type 2 diabetes

Early treatment with new generations of HIV medication has significantly extended the life expectancy and quality of live of individuals infected with the disease. However, a new study from Washington University researchers has found that these drugs may also increase the risk of insulin resistance, which could cause type 2 diabetes.

HIV protease inhibitors are becoming an increasingly common treatment for individuals who have been infected with HIV. While there is plenty of evidence supporting the many benefits of these drugs, their long-term effects have not been exhaustively studied.

Which is where the new study comes in. Writing in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, researchers said that they found that common HIV treatments block the action of a particular protein that transports glucose from the blood to the cells of the body, where it is needed. This results in elevated blood sugar levels, which increases the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes.

"Our lab has established that one of the effects of these drugs is blocking glucose transport, one of most important steps in how insulin works," said Paul Hruz, who led the study. "Now that we've identified the main mechanism, we will look to develop new drugs that treat HIV but don't cause diabetes."

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