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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A defect in the activity of Delta6 and Delta5 desaturases may be a factor predisposing to the development of insulin resistance syndrome.

GLUT-4 (glucose transporter) receptor, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukins-6 (IL-6), daf-genes and PPARs (peroxisomal proliferation activator receptors) play a role in the development of insulin resistance syndrome and associated conditions. But, the exact interaction between these molecules/factors and the mechanism(s) by which they produce insulin resistance syndrome is not clear. I propose that a defect in the activity of the enzymes Delta6 and Delta5 desaturases that are essential for the formation of long chain metabolites of essential fatty acids, linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid, is a factor in the development of insulin resistance syndrome. Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) increase cell membrane fluidity and enhance the number of insulin receptors and the affinity of insulin to its receptors; suppress TNF-alpha, IL-6, macrophage migration inhibitory factor ( MIF) and leptin synthesis; increase the number of GLUT-4 receptors, serve as endogenous ligands of PPARs, modify lipolysis, and regulate the balance between pro- and anti-oxidants, and thus, play a critical role in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance. In the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, the protein encoded by daf-2 is 35% identical to the human insulin receptor; daf-7 codes a transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) type signal and daf-16 enhances superoxide dismutase (SOD) expression. Melatonin has anti-oxidant actions similar to daf-16, TGF-beta and SOD. Calorie restriction enhances the activity of Delta6 and Delta5 desaturases, melatonin production, decreases daf-2 signaling, free radical generation, and augments anti-oxidant defenses that may explain the beneficial effect of diet control in the management of obesity, insulin resistance, and type II diabetes mellitus. These evidences suggest that the activities of Delta6 and Delta5 enzymes play a critical role in the expression and regulation of GLUT-4, TNF-alpha, IL-6, MIF, daf-genes, melatonin, and leptin by modulating the synthesis and tissue concentrations of LCPUFAs. Caloric restriction delays ageing by activating Sir 2 deacetylase in yeast, and expression of Sir 2 (SIRT1) in human cells. Both insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) attenuated this response. SIRT1 sequesters the proapoptotic factor Bax, prevents stress-induced apoptosis of cells, and thus, prolongs survival. In addition, SIRT1 repressed PPAR-gamma, and overexpression of SIRT1 attenuated adipogenesis, and upregulation of SIRT in differentiated fat cells triggered lipolysis and loss of fat, events that are known to attenuate insulin resistance and prolong life span. It remains to be seen whether LCPUFAs have a regulatory role in SIRT1 expression and control Sir 2 deacetylase activity. Thus, calorie restriction or reduced food intake has a role not only in the pathobiology of insulin resistance, but also in other associated conditions such as obesity, type II diabetes mellitus, ageing, and longevity.[1]


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