Our body's response to foods' smell, taste could be a risk factor for diabetes, say researchers.
Scientists at Duke University Medical Center have identified the specific mechanism in human specimens and in mice. According to them, when we anticipate or smell a meal, the parasympathetic nervous system triggers salivation and increases insulin production in response to the expectation that glucose will be entering the blood stream.
"We think this parasympathetic response is potentially important in type 2 diabetes," said Vann Bennett, the James B. Duke professor in the departments of cell biology, biochemistry, and neurobiology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. "Our study showed there is a novel mutation in the gene encoding ankyrin-B, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. This happens through an impairment of the insulin secretion that is added by the parasympathetic nervous system."
The study was released online on Tuesday, March 16 in Science Signaling.