It’s perhaps a disgusting combination but some University of Alberta researchers believe the effects of a compound found in red wine and mouse poop could provide tantalizing possibilities in the fight against Type 2 diabetes.
The team’s study, recently published by the journal Diabetes, looked at the impact of resveratrol, a compound that has been shown to lower blood-sugar levels, on the community of bacteria found in the guts of obese mice.
The study found obese mice saw their glucose tolerance improve after being fed resveratrol over a period of six weeks. They said it’s believed the compound changed the makeup of the bacteria in their intestines.
Upon coming to this conclusion, the researchers conducted a followup experiment in which healthy mice were fed resveratrol for eight weeks. They then took the fecal waste from those mice and transplanted it into obese mice along with insulin resistance. According to the team, the results were even “more dramatic” than when the obese mice were fed resveratrol in a traditional way.
“What we found, surprisingly, in a very short period of time, is that the obese mice were completely cured of any symptoms of diabetes,” says Jason Dyck, Canada Research Chair in molecular medicine and one of the study’s authors.
Dyck says he believes the change in glucose tolerance is the result of an unknown metabolite in the fecal matter.
“I believe that there’s something else in the mix that’s causing this improvement in glucose homeostasis in obese mice,” he says. “We’re trying to isolate this unknown compound, with the hopes of using it as a potential treatment for impaired glucose homeostasis in obesity.”
Dyck says he hopes the findings could soon lead to testing in humans.
“Whether or not this is the wave of the future, we’re not sure yet, but it certainly is an exciting time.”
The team believes the findings could open the door to new therapies for Type 2 diabetes patients in the future.
-with files from Su-Ling Goh.
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