A team of researchers from the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology have discovered a new hormone “MOTS-c,” a mitochondrial-derived peptide hormone that imitates the effects commonly associated with exercising. It counters insulin insensitivity and diet-induced and age-dependent insulin resistance. Researchers tested the efficacy of the hormone by injecting it in mice that were on a high-fat diet, a precursor to obesity and insulin resistance. However, MOTS-c was able to supress these effects. The uniqueness of MOTS-c is that while hormones are typically encoded in DNA in the nucleus, MOTS-c originates in the DNA of mitochondria that are the "powerhouses" of cells that convert food into energy. According to Changhan Lee, assistant professor at USC Davis and lead author of the study, “This discovery sheds new light on mitochondria and positions them as active regulators of metabolism.” While the hormone has only been tested on mice, it would be tested on human in a few years.
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