Insulin resistance refers to the inability of cells in the body to respond appropriately to the hormone insulin.
Among the cells in the body that normally respond to insulin are nerves in a region of the brain known as the hypothalamus.
In the new study conducted over rats, Hiraku Ono and colleagues found that when rodents were fed a high-fat diet for a short period of time, the ability of insulin to prevent liver cells releasing stored glucose was reduced.
This in turn reduced insulin-induced signalling and increased activation of a protein known as SK6 in the hypothalamus, which suppressed the ability of insulin to prevent glucose release
These data lead the authors to speculate that the earliest stages of diet-induced insulin resistance might be prevented by inhibition of S6K in the hypothalamus.