The new class of fat discovered could revolutionize therapy: the practice of healing

Lipids identified for the treatment of diabetes

Researchers have one new class of grease identified who the insulin sensitivitydie blood glucose control and more metabolic parameters influence. The discovery opens the door to potential new treatment options for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

A working group of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston (USA) they have the function of a special group of lipids, the so-called FAHFA, decrypted. Fats affect blood sugar, insulin sensitivity and metabolism and are therefore a very attractive target for diabetes treatment. The findings were recently presented in the journal Nature.

Diabetes is a widespread metabolic disease

All over the world they are round 422 million people have diabetesapproximately 1.5 million people die each year from metabolic disease.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease in which the production of insulin Beta cells in the pancreas No Insulin produce more.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body resistant or insensitive to insulin becomes.

Insulin however, it is essential for the body check your blood sugar. Both variants of the disease regularly lead to high blood sugar levels, which over time can cause severe damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves.

Despite treatment, complications can occur

There are a number of treatment options to get metabolic disease under control, such as one targeted nutrition and the Insulin injectionbut many sufferers find it difficult to control their blood sugar levels despite treatment, leading to risk of complications increased.

Discovery of a new class of lipids

The American research team has now identified a key enzyme for the synthesis of a new class of lipids called FAHFA, which form in human tissue. FAHFAs have beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity, glycemic control and other metabolic parameters.

“The long-term goal is to safely replace the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas in people with type 1 diabetes, but that would require protecting these cells from immune system attacks.”explained professor Dr. Barbara B. Kahn vom Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Innovation in diabetes research

“We have shown that these FAHFA lipids protect beta cells from immune attack and metabolic stress”, according to Dr. barge. the Increase in FAHFA levels it could, according to the working group, both Treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes be suitable.

“Our new discovery is a breakthrough because for the first time we know how these lipids are formed in mammalian tissues.”emphasizes the expert.

FAHFA discovered in 2014

In 2014, Kahn’s team, in collaboration with Professor Alan Saghatelian (now at the Salk Institute), discovered the previously unknown class of lipids called FAHFA, which stands for fatty acid esters of fatty hydroxy acids.

FAHFAs are directly linked to insulin sensitivity

According to the scientists, the level of FAHFA in humans is directly linked to insulin sensitivity. In obese mice, the team has already been able to demonstrate administration of FAHFAs Improvement of the glycemic control of animals And reduced pro-inflammatory immune response.

The researchers were also able to show that lipids protect the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. attacks by immune cells and before cellular stress protection. In people with obesity, the natural levels of FAHFA often too lowthe research team points out.

An enzyme as a missing piece of the puzzle

As part of the present study, the team led by Dr. Kahn has now discovered that an enzyme called Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) plays a key role in FAHFA lipid synthesis. ATGL is the main biosynthetic enzyme for FAHFA in adipose tissue.

In addition, the researchers were able to show that people are obese and insulin resistant have lower levels of ATGL in white adipose tissue like thin people. ATGL appears to be associated with reductions in FAHFA in insulin resistant people.

Overall, the working group believes that the factors mentioned here lead to a increasing the severity of diabetes. Adjustment of the ATGL and FAHFA seals could be a new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of diabetes to represent.

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes Through FAHFAs

“Ideally, the new findings could be used to increase FAHFA levels in people at risk for type 2 diabetes to prevent it, or to improve glycemic control in people who already have type 2 diabetes.”summarizes Professor Kahn.

“Understanding the regulation of ATGL could lead to strategies to increase these beneficial lipids in metabolic and immune-mediated diseases.”adds Kahn in conclusion. (vb)

Information on the author and source

This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by medical professionals.


Graduate Publisher (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: Breakthrough Discoveries Could Produce Benefits for Patients with Diabetes (veröffentlicht: 06/14/2022),
  • Patel, R., Santoro, A., Hofer, P. et al. ATGL is a biosynthetic enzyme for fatty acid esters of fatty hydroxy acids; in: Nature (2022).,

Important note:
This article contains general advice only and is not to be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.

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