Diabetes & Obesity
A global problem
Type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity are two diseases whose prevalence has been steadily and inexorably increasing for several decades. It currently affects about 4-5% of the world's population, and prevalence is rising by approximately 10% annually in Western Europe.
Insulin resistance and ß-cell dysfunction are considered the major pathophysiological components of the disease.
While diabetes mellitus is diagnosed by an increase in blood glucose levels, obesity is defined as a rise in body fat exceeding normal levels. In both cases, these are chronic diseases with impaired quality of life and high risk of morbidity and mortality that require long-term medical care.
In recent years, research has contributed to delineating the links between the two diseases and defining new laboratory markers for their classification. These include the proteins adiponectin, intact proinsulin, high-sensitivity CRP (hsCRP), and leptin. These proteins play an important role in the pathophysiological processes of both clinical pictures.
Osteocalcin, a bone matrix protein produced by osteoblasts, regulates blood glucose levels and the formation of fat cells. Osteocalcin stimulates the ß-cells of the pancreas to increase the secretion of insulin. At the same time, it improves glucose tolerance, stimulates fat cells in the body to release the hormone adiponectin, thus paving the way for the body's increased sensitivity to insulin.
In experiments, it was found that test animals fed high-fat diets did not get fatter or develop diabetes mellitus when given supplemental osteocalcin, in contrast to the control group. Diabetics, who are known to have low osteocalcin levels in their blood, may benefit from therapy with this hormone in the future.