January 6, 2014

Tyrosine in Worms and People

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tyrosineGlucose is the usual suspect when looking for a thing to blame in diabetes but a study is showing that an excess of an amino acid may be one half of the double-threat. The study was published in PLoS Genetics.

Tyrosine is an instrumental part of signal transduction processes in the body. However, elevated levels of this amino acid can alter development and lifespan. This may contribute to the development of T2D in people. This research could potentially lead to a novel way to prevent or treat the disease.

Tyrosine is increased in the blood of people who are obese or have T2D. The people who are obese and don’t yet have diabetes may be at an increased risk of developing it because of their tyrosine levels.

American Diabetes Association research is investigating if tyrosine phosphorylation is not working properly in the muscles of people who develop T2D. Perhaps that is why there is an increased level of tyrosine in these people?

Elevated tyrosine levels alter insulin signaling. Researchers found that increasing the levels of tyrosine in roundworms promoted their longevity. Worms with mutated genes lived 10%-20% longer.

This indicates that elevated levels of tyrosine isn’t necessarily a bad thing unless the body is efficiently using the surplus of the amino acid.

An increased level of tyrosine produces longevity in mutated worms. For some people, it raises the risk of T2D and insulin resistance. Where is the line crossed in the responsibility of science and the power of control?

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