The liver is considered an important organ in the body. It plays an essential role in many important body processes. One of these is to help improve blood glucose levels and protect against excessive fluctuations. Scientists who investigate new diabetes treatments believe that they have evidence that shows excess production of a neurotransmitter in the liver could be the cause of the onset of insulin resistance. The finding may help treat (T2D) type 2 diabetes.

Liver Plays Vital Role in Type 2 Diabetes

Benjamin Renquist, a researcher at the University of Arizona stated that obesity is one of the common signs of type 2 diabetes. The known fact is the amount of fat will increase with obesity. He said that when the fat increases in the liver, the incidence of diabetes will increase. The relationship between fat in the liver and diabetes has been known for many years. However, it is still unknown how the liver could contribute to insulin sensitivity. The new study focused on GABA or Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Excess GABA production reduces nerve activity. With the help of this mechanism, scientists hypothesize the liver influences glucose levels.

Renquist explained that the activity of nerves that go from the liver to the brain will decrease when the liver generates GABA. Hence, the fatty liver’s firing activity reduces while producing GABA. The decrease is sensed by the primary nervous system which helps change outgoing signals that impact glucose homeostasis.GABA production in the liver is controlled by an enzyme known as GABA transaminase. The scientists prevented the production of the enzyme in type 2 diabetes in animals to check whether the mechanism contributes to insulin resistance. 

According to Carolin Geisler, lead author of two new research papers, a high level of liver GABA production helped to restore insulin sensitivity within a few days. Longer-term inhibition of GABA-transaminase reduced food intake and weight loss. In order to verify these findings in humans, scientists examined GABA-related gene activity in people with type diabetes. A connection was identified between increased expression of genes in the liver and insulin resistance which play a role in GABA production.

GABA transaminase inhibitor was already introduced mainly produced in the past as anticonvulsant medicines. The clinical trial is in progress analyzing whether one of these already approved GABA transaminase inhibitors helps improve insulin sensitivity in people with obesity. Renquist further said these trials are all about learning the role of a specific pathway that could contribute to type 2 diabetes instead of confirming these pre-existing medications can be reused.