Andrew Butler, Professor of Pharmacological and Physiological Science at 'Saint Louis University', discovered the peptide hormone 'adropin' several years ago.

“Adropin is a poorly understood hormone. We first reported its discovery a little over six years ago, but we really didn’t understand what it did. We knew it played a role in maintaining metabolic health, but we didn’t know much beyond that,” the researcher said.

In a recent research published in the journal 'Diabetes', Butler and his team offered the first definition of adropin’s functions that maintain metabolic health.

“When we measured adropin levels in mice, they were suppressed under fasting conditions and stimulated after feeding, suggesting functions related to the changes in metabolism that occur with feeding and fasting,” he said.

“Our work suggests that adropin plays a role in regulating metabolic (energy) homeostasis,” he added.

“When you are well fed, your body prefers to use glucose and the release of adropin supports this change by enhancing the use of glucose as a metabolic fuel in muscle. However, when you are fasting, your body prefers to use fatty acids. Our observations suggest that a decline in adropin with fasting may be a signal to take the brakes off the use of fatty acids,” Butler said.

The team found that treatment with adropin improved glucose tolerance, enhanced insulin action and improved metabolic flexibility toward glucose utilisation in situations of obesity and insulin resistance.

“The hope is that adropin could someday be used in the clinic to help patients with type 2 diabetes control blood sugar levels and delay or prevent the development of the disease in at-risk individuals,” Butler said.

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