Insulin can protect against bowel cancer

Insulin helps the intestinal cells firmly connect with each other and prevent bacteria that can cause inflammation.

Overweight is often accompanied by oncological diseases, and inflammation is commonly referred to here as a link: obesity provokes a sluggish inflammatory reaction, because of it, damage occurs in cellular DNA, and as a result a malignant tumor begins to grow in healthy tissue.

But how does the inflammation begin? There may be different mechanisms. On the one hand, fat cells that have accumulated a lot of fat are ways to irritate the immune system by themselves. If we are talking about colon or rectum cancer, then bacteria can play a significant role. Normally, they are not able not only to penetrate the intestinal wall, but even to approach it – they are not allowed in the mucous membrane layer. However, in obesity, microbes pass through the intestinal epithelium and interfere with the immune defense of the intestine. Inflammation begins, which is not so easy to stop – because overweight does not disappear quickly – bacteria continue to enter the intestine, inflammation continues, and often everything ends with cancer of the colon or rectum.

Researchers at the Max Planck Society Metabolism Institute write Nature Metabolism, which helps insulin in this situation. In order for epithelial cells not to allow bacteria to enter the intestinal tissue, they must be firmly connected to each other. Such intercellular contacts are made from a variety of proteins, and for these proteins to be, the corresponding genes must work. It turns out that the genes that provide cell-to-cell contact are activated by insulin. That is, in the case of intestinal epithelial cells, insulin simultaneously induces them to absorb glucose and synthesize proteins that will form the connection between the cells.

The fact is that obesity, as you know, is fraught with a decrease in tissue sensitivity to insulin (the reason for this is again in inflammation). In general, it threatens with diabetes, and there are a number of drugs aimed precisely at returning the body’s ability to feel insulin. In the case of intestinal epithelial cells, a decrease in insulin sensitivity also threatens with bacterial invasion of intestinal tissue, so their ability to respond to insulin should be returned as soon as possible.

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