Main Newsletter
Mastery Series
Therapy Series
 
Bookmark and Share | Print Article | Items for the Week Previous | All Articles This Week | Next
This article originally posted and appeared in  Issue 518BG ControlPrevention

Higher Altitude Improves Insulin Sensitivity

There may be a reason Colorado has one of the nation's lowest rates of diabetes. Scientists who bred mice missing a gene -- which regulates response to low oxygen levels -- found they stay thin and healthy and avoid fatty livers and diabetes even when....

Advertisement

fed extremely high-fat diets. The mice lack a gene that makes an enzyme called FIH, which affects the body's physiological response to low oxygen levels. At first, the researchers thought the lack of the gene might kill them in utero.

"In fact the mouse was quite happy and didn't seem to notice it all," says Randall Johnson, a professor of biology at the University of California, San Diego, who directed the research.  But when scientists studied it, they realized it was significantly leaner than normal mice. 

Not only that. The mouse was constantly hyperventilating, taking in 20-40% more air than normal, with a faster heart rate. It also drank 30-40% more than regular mice.

When researchers analyzed it, they found that the mouse was reacting as if it had been taken up to the top of Mount Rainier, about 14,000 feet.

Air at sea level contains about 22% oxygen. At the top of Washington State's Mount Rainier, it's about 15% and at the top of Mount Everest, at the far edge of what humans can survive, it goes down to 11 to 12%.

These mice react much as humans would at a 15% oxygen level. Except in humans, the body quickly reacts to altitude, increasing respiration and adding more red blood cells to compensate until it has adapted.

The mice never adapt. Instead, they expend a huge amount of energy breathing.

It might be socially a little problematic to go around hyperventilating all the time, but Johnson says it's possible a similar state might be induced by drugs.

"It's intriguing that the least diabetic state is Colorado. So there's a possibility that there's a link between higher altitude and improved insulin sensitivity," he says.

Cell Metabolism April 14, 2010

 

Advertisement


 

Bookmark and Share | Print | Category | Home

This article originally posted 20 April, 2010 and appeared in  Issue 518BG ControlPrevention

Past five issues: Diabetes Clinical Mastery Series Issue 216 | Issue 756 | Diabetes Clinical Mastery Series Issue 215 | SGLT-2 Inhibitors Special Edition November 2014 | Issue 755 |

2014 Most Popular Articles:

New SGLT2 Inhibitor Likely To Be Approved for Type 2 Diabetes
Posted November 14, 2014
Grapefruit Juice May Affect Insulin Resistance
Posted October 23, 2014
New Approach Targets Type 2's Poorly Controlled With Metformin
Posted November 14, 2014
Very Low Carbohydrate, Low Saturated Fat Diet for Type 2 Diabetes Management
Posted November 07, 2014
Dietary Magnesium Intake's Role in Decreasing Metabolic Syndrome
Posted October 31, 2014
FDA Accepts Filing of NDA for Empagliflozin/Metformin Fixed-dose Combination
Posted October 23, 2014
Handbook of Diabetes, 4th Ed., Excerpt #16: Diabetic Neuropathy
Posted November 02, 2014
Exercise Promotes Preservation of Beta Cells
Posted November 14, 2014
What's Hiding in that Insulin Box?
Posted October 27, 2014
Interview with NuSirt CEO Joe Cook, Jr: Improving Metformin Treatment, Part 1
Posted November 02, 2014


Browse by Feature Writer & Article Category.
A. Lee Dellon, MD | Aaron I. Vinik, MD, PhD, FCP, MACP | Beverly Price | Charles W Martin, DD | Derek Lowe, PhD | Dr. Brian Jakes, Jr. | Dr. Fred Pescatore | Dr. Tom Burke, Ph.D | Eric S. Freedland | Evan D. Rosen | Ginger Kanzer-Lewis | Greg Milliger | Kristina Sandstedt | Laura Plunkett | Leonard Lipson, M.A. | Louis H. Philipson | Maria Emanuel Ryan, DDS, PhD | Marilyn Porter, RD, CDE | Melissa Diane Smith | Michael R. Cohen, RPh, MS, ScD, FASHP | Paul Chous, M.A., OD | Philip A. Wood PhD | R. Keith Campbell, Professor, B.Pharm, MBA, CDE | Richard K. Bernstein, MD | Sheri R. Colberg PhD | Sherri Shafer | Stanley Schwartz, MD, FACP, FACE | Steve Pohlit | Steven V. Edelman, M.D. | Timothy S. Hollingshead |

Cast Your Vote
If the U.S. Affordable Care Act is reversed in the new congress, what impact will that have on your patients?
CME/CE of the Week
Inpatient Management of Diabetes
Silvia Inzucchi, M.D.

Category: General Diabetes
CE Credits: .75
Search Articles On Diabetes In Control