Tracking the culprits of insulin resistance

Lipids are molecules that form the building blocks of the cells comprising our bodies. When some lipids build up, especially in the liver and the muscles, it can lead to insulin resistance. This can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Scientists don’t know exactly which lipids trigger insulin resistance, but they have a couple of prime suspects.

Associate Professor Nigel Turner from the University of New South Wales has one lipid, C18:0 ceramide, firmly in his sites and thanks to a grant from the Diabetes Australia Research Trust he will be able to investigate further.

“Recent studies in animals and humans have shown that insulin resistance in muscle is closely associated with the build-up of C18:0 ceramide,” Associate Professor Turner said.

“We have developed some compounds which target the enzymes responsible for producing C:18:0 ceramide, so we want to see if reducing the amount of this lipid could also reduce insulin resistance.

“We hope it leads to more effective treatments for people with type 2 diabetes.”

Associate Professor Turner’s research is supported by Diabetes Australia through the Diabetes Australia Research Trust. Find out how you can help support research projects like this here.