Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Metabolomics & Lipidomics
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Researchers Solve a Mystery about Type 2 Diabetes Drug

Published: Friday, November 22, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, November 22, 2013
Bookmark and Share
AB SCIEX TripleTOF® and QTRAP® technologies support breakthrough medical study.

Researchers from St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, in collaboration with researchers at McMaster University in Canada, are reportedly the first to discover how the type 2 diabetes drug metformin actually works, providing a molecular understanding that could lead to the development of more effective therapies. Mass spectrometry technologies from AB SCIEX played a critical role in the analysis that led to this breakthrough finding.  The research is published in this month’s issue of the journal Nature Medicine.  

Doctors have known for decades that metformin helps treat type 2 diabetes.  However, questions had lingered for more than 50 years whether this drug, which is available as a generic drug, worked to lower blood glucose in patients by directly working on the glucose. People with type 2 diabetes have high blood sugar levels and have trouble converting sugar in their blood into energy because of low levels of insulin. For treating this condition, metformin is considered the most widely prescribed anti-diabetic drug in the world.  

Until now, no one had been able to explain adequately how this drug lowers blood sugar. According to this new study, the drug works by reducing harmful fat in the liver. People who take metformin reportedly often have a fatty liver, which is frequently caused by obesity.  

“Fat is likely a key trigger for pre-diabetes in humans,” said Professor Bruce Kemp, PhD, the Head of Protein Chemistry and Metabolism at St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research.  “Our study indicates that metformin doesn’t directly reduce sugar metabolism, as previously suspected, but instead reduces fat in the liver, which in turn allows insulin to work effectively.”  

The breakthrough in pinning down how the drug functions began with the researchers making genetic mutations to the genes of two enzymes, ACC1 and ACC2, in mice, so they could no longer be controlled.  What happened next surprised the researchers: the mice didn’t get fat as expected, but Associate Professor Gregory Steinberg, PhD at McMaster University noticed that the mice had fatty livers and a pre-diabetic condition. Then the researchers put the mice on a high fat diet and they became fat, while metformin did not lower the blood sugar levels of the mutant mice. 

The findings are expected to help researchers better directly target the condition, which affects over 100 million people around the world, according to published reports. It is also believed that with the mystery of metformin solved, the application of the drug could go beyond just diabetes and potentially be used to treat other medical conditions. 

“AB SCIEX mass spectrometry solutions help researchers explore big questions and conduct breakthrough studies, such as this remarkable type 2 diabetes study,” said Rainer Blair, President of AB SCIEX.   “In order to understand disease at the molecular level, researchers need the sensitive detection and reproducible quantitation provided by AB SCIEX tools. We enable the research community to solve biological mysteries and rethink the possibilities to transform health.”

For the research conducted by the Australian and Canadian researchers, the analysis at the molecular level was optimized on AB SCIEX instrumentation, including the AB SCIEX TripleTOF® 5600 and the AB SCIEX QTRAP® 5500 system.  The TripleTOF system, with its high-speed, high-quality MS/MS capabilities, was used for the discovery of key proteins and phosphopeptides.  The QTRAP system, with its high sensitivity MRM (multiple reaction monitoring) capabilities, was used for quantitation of metabolites, including nucleotides and malonyl-CoA.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

SCIEX and Hepregen Announce Co-Marketing Agreement
Alliance establishes SCIEX and Hepregen as a one-stop solution provider for drug metabolism investigators.
Friday, May 22, 2015
Sciex, Hepregen Team up on Metabolite Identification Offering
This recently announced collaboration aims to provide practical solutions for drug metabolism researchers.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
SCIEX and Mass Consortium Corporation Announce Exclusive Reseller Agreement
SCIEX to provide customers with XCMSplus software solution for simplified and accelerated metabolomics workflows.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
AB SCIEX Wins New Product Innovation Award in Asia Pacific
The award recognizes the company’s continued innovation in the mass spectrometry industry and a number of new products introduced into the market in recent years.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Barry Karger Receives Arnold O. Beckman Award
Award honors Prof Karger for his outstanding achievements in the field of electrodriven separation techniques.
Monday, April 28, 2014
AB SCIEX Expands Support in the Middle East
AB SCIEX announces the opening of a new regional office and technical support centre located in Dubai.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
AB SCIEX Receives Frost & Sullivan Award
AB SCIEX has been awarded the 2013 Global Market Share Leadership Award for Mass Spectrometry from Frost & Sullivan.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
AB SCIEX and LECO Announces Co-marketing Agreement
Bundled solutions leverage the synergy between two technology leaders.
Thursday, July 04, 2013
AB SCIEX Academic Partnership Program Funds University of Texas Southwestern Researcher
AB SCIEX is supporting the lipidomics research of Jeff McDonald, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
AB SCIEX and UOW to Collaborate
A research partnership between AB SCIEX and the University of Wollongong will develop lipid analysis capabilities, including the most definitive and comprehensive identification of double bond position in lipids.
Friday, September 21, 2012
AB Sciex Agrees for Sigma-Aldrich® to Distribute iChemistry™ Solutions
Broadens availability of mass spectrometry-based tagging chemistries to biologists and chemists worldwide.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
AB SCIEX and Premier Biosoft Collaborate on Lipidomics Software
PREMIER Biosoft and AB SCIEX collaborate by offering data analysis solutions for lipidomics.
Monday, June 04, 2012
AB SCIEX Announces Academic Partnership Program
The program aims to increase the number of scientists who benefit from the company’s assistance and resources for advancing research in proteomics, metabolomics and lipidomics.
Wednesday, April 04, 2012
AB SCIEX Announces Academic Partnership Program to Support Biological Research
Focus on proteomics, metabolomics and lipidomics to accelerate promising work in science and biomedical studies.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
AB SCIEX Expands Commercial Operations in Brazil
The expansion will support the increasing use of mass spectrometry for food safety testing, environmental analysis, academic research, drug development, forensic toxicology and clinical research.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Scientific News
Drug May Prevent Life-Threatening Muscle Loss in Advanced Cancers
New data describes how an experimental drug can stop life-threatening muscle wasting (cachexia) associated with advanced cancers and restore muscle health.
Cancer-Fighting Tomato Component Traced
The metabolic pathway associated with lycopene, the bioactive red pigment found in tomatoes, has been traced by researchers at the University of Illinois.
Circadian Clock Controls Insulin and Blood Sugar in Pancreas
Map of thousands of genes suggests new therapeutic targets for diabetes.
Cellular Stress Process Identified in Cardiovascular Disease
Combining the investigative tools of genetics, transcriptomics, epigenetics and metabolomics, a Duke Medicine research team has identified a new molecular pathway involved in heart attacks and death from heart disease.
Predicting Adverse Drug Reactions with Higher Confidence
A new integrated computational method helps predicting adverse drug reaction—which are often lethal—more reliably than with traditional computing methods.
A New Way to Starve Lung Cancer?
Metabolic alterations in lung cancer may open new avenues for treating the disease.
Evidence of How Incurable Cancer Develops
Researchers in the West Midlands have made a breakthrough in explaining how an incurable type of blood cancer develops from an often symptomless prior blood disorder.
Building a Better Liposome
Computational models suggest new design for nanoparticles used in targeted drug delivery.
Breast Cancer Drug Beats Superbug
Tamoxifen helps white blood cells clear multidrug-resistant bacteria in lab and mouse studies.
Antioxidants Cause Malignant Melanoma to Metastasize Faster
Fresh research at Sahlgrenska Academy has found that antioxidants can double the rate of melanoma metastasis in mice.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos