Last updated on Jun 23rd, 2021 at 12:30 pm

Insecticides increase diabetes risk

A new University at Buffalo study suggests that exposure to insecticides adversely affects melatonin receptor signalling, creating a higher risk for developing diabetes.

Researchers found that synthetic chemicals commonly found in insecticides and garden products bind to the receptors that govern our biological clocks, also known as circadian rhythms.

Disruptions in human circadian rhythms are known to put people at higher risk for diabetes and other metabolic diseases but the mechanism involved is not well understood.

“No one was thinking that the melatonin system was affected by these compounds, but that’s what our research shows,” said  Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD, senior author on the paper.

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A focus on two chemicals

The research focused on two chemicals – carbaryl and carbofuran – and combined a ‘big data’ approach, using computer modelling on millions of chemicals, with standard ‘wet-laboratory’ experiments.

“We found that both insecticides are structurally similar to melatonin and that both showed affinity for the melatonin, MT2 receptors, that can potentially affect glucose homeostasis and insulin secretion,” said Marina Popevska-Gorevski, co-author, now a scientist with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, who worked in Dubocovich’s lab while earning her master’s degree at UB. “That means that exposure to them could put people at higher risk for diabetes and also affect sleeping patterns.”

Source: University at Buffalo via