A study conducted by scientists from East Carolina University,on rodents has pointed towards the immense benefit of diet and exercise in the management of Type 2 diabetes.
A high fat diet can attenuate the body's sensitivity to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels, and can lead to type II diabetes.
While this process is known to be mediated by cellular components called mitochondria and by cellular oxidative stress, the mechanisms underlying their involvement are poorly understood.
Now, the new study, by Darrell Neufer and colleagues, sheds light on this issue.
In rodents, a high-fat diet induced mitochondrial release of hydrogen peroxide, a damaging oxidative chemical, and reduced cellular resistance to oxidative stress.
Treatment of the animals with a novel antioxidant protected them from insulin resistance.
Animals that were genetically manipulated to produce the compound catalase, which breaks down hydrogen peroxide, in their muscle mitochondria, were also protected.
Apart from providing a potential explanation for the most effective way to reduce an individual's risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the researchers suggest that their data indicate that mitochondrial-targeted antioxidants might prove more effective at combating reduced insulin sensitivity than general antioxidants, which have thus far had little effect.