In a new study published in Cell Research, Chinese researchers have identified a previously unknown hormone that is secreted by the gut and helps with metabolic adaptations during fasting. The study, which was conducted by researchers from Tsinghua University and Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, sheds new light on the critical role that the intestines play in regulating metabolism during periods of food deprivation.
The hormone, which has been named famsin, stands for famine-survival hormone. During fasting, famsin is shed from a protein called Gm11437 and then binds to an olfactory receptor called OLFR796. This famsin-OLFR796 binding promotes the breakdown of fats and the generation of glucose from certain non-carbohydrates and ketone bodies, which helps to conserve energy during fasting.
One of the key findings of the study was that blocking the signaling of the famsin-OLFR796 binding improved blood glucose levels in diabetic mice. This suggests that famsin could be a potential therapeutic target for treating diabetes, a disease that affects millions of people worldwide.
The researchers also found that famsin plays a critical role in the communication between the intestines and other organs during fasting. This highlights the importance of the gut in regulating metabolism and maintaining overall health.
While it’s well-known that the intestines play a key role in nutrient absorption and metabolism during feeding, it has been unclear whether they also play a role in metabolism during fasting. The researchers found that famsin helps to promote metabolic adaptations during fasting, which helps the body to conserve energy and maintain blood glucose levels.
Overall, the study provides new insights into the metabolic adaptations that occur in the body during periods of food deprivation. It also highlights the importance of the gut in regulating metabolism and maintaining overall health, and suggests that famsin could be a promising target for the development of new treatments for diabetes and other metabolic disorders.