"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Why don't fruit bats get diabetes? A brand new understanding of how they’ve adapted to a high-sugar weight-reduction plan could lead on to treatments for people.

People around the globe eat an excessive amount of sugar. When the body is unable to process sugar effectively, leading to excess blood glucose, this can lead to diabetes. According to the World Health Organization, it became diabetes. Ninth leading cause of death In 2019

Humans aren't the one mammals that love sugar. Fruits are eaten by bats, too twice their body weight in sweet fruits a day. However, unlike humans, fruit bats thrive on a weight-reduction plan wealthy in sugar. They can Lower their blood sugar quickly Compared to bats that depend on insects as their primary source of food.

We are a team. Biologists And Bioengineers. To determine how fruit bats mastered a high-sugar weight-reduction plan sent us on a quest to approach diabetes treatment from an unusual angle—one which sent us all of the option to Lamanai, Belize. Belize Bat-a-thonan annual gathering where researchers collect and study bats.

Authors Nadav Ahituv, left, and Wei Gordon.
V. Gordon, CC BY-ND

In our Newly published research In Nature Communications, we and colleagues Seongbin Baek And Martin Hamburg used a technology that analyzes the DNA of individual cells to check the unique metabolic instructions encoded within the genome of the Jamaican fruit bat, with the genome of the insect-eating big brown bat.

About 2 percent of DNA Contains genes, that are segments of DNA that contain instructions that cells use to provide specific traits, equivalent to Long tongue in fruit bats. The other 98% are segments of DNA that regulate genes and determine the presence and absence of the traits they encode.

To understand how fruit bats evolved to eat a lot sugar, we desired to discover genetic and cellular differences between fruit-eating bats and insect-eating bats. Specifically, we checked out genes, regulatory DNA and cell types in two key organs implicated in metabolic disease: the pancreas and the kidney.

Four male *Artibeus jamaicensis* and four male *Eptesicus fuscus* bats were fasted then fed fruit or insects, respectively, or starved before analyzing their kidney and pancreas cells and genes.
This flowchart outlines the authors' study methodology.
Created with V. Gordon, BioRender.com/Nature Communications., CC BY-ND

Pancreas Controls blood sugar and appetite by releasing hormones like insulin, which lowers your blood sugar, and glucagon, which raises your blood sugar. We found that Jamaican fruit bats. More insulin-producing and glucagon-producing cells Compared to big brown bats, with regulatory DNA that primes fruit bat pancreatic cells to start out producing insulin and glucagon. These two hormones work together to balance blood sugar levels even when fruit bats are consuming large amounts of sugar.

kidney Filters metabolic waste from the blood, maintains water and salt balance and regulates blood pressure. Fruit bat kidneys have to be equipped to remove large amounts of water from the fruit while maintaining a low salt content within the fruit from their bloodstream. We found that Jamaican fruit bats have adjusted the composition of their kidney cells to their weight-reduction plan. Reducing the number of cells that concentrate in the urine Therefore, their urine is more dilute than that of huge brown bats.

Why it matters

Diabetes is one of the crucial expensive diseases on the earth. gave The United States spent $412.9 billion. Direct medical costs and indirect costs related to diabetes in 2022.

Most methods for developing latest diabetes treatments are based on traditional laboratory animals equivalent to mice because they're easy to breed and study within the laboratory. But outside the lab, there are mammals like fruit bats which have actually evolved to tolerate sugar overload. Figuring out how these mammals cope with sugar overload could help researchers discover latest ways to treat diabetes.

By applying latest cell characterization technologies to those non-model organisms, or biology researchers don't typically use for research within the laboratory, we and a growing body of researchers reveal that latest ways to treat disease. Nature could be exploited to develop.

The authors separate a fruit bat from a net throughout the Belize Bat-a-thon.

What will not be yet known.

Although our study has revealed many potential targets for the treatment of diabetes, further research is required to reveal whether our fruit bat DNA sequences could be used to grasp, manage, or treat diabetes in humans. Can help with treatment.

Some of our fruit bat results could also be unrelated to metabolism or specific to Jamaican fruit bats. There is Close to 200 species of fruit bats. Studying more bats will help researchers make clear which fruit bat DNA sequences are suitable for treating diabetes.

Our study focused only on the pancreas and kidneys of bats. Analyzing other organs involved in metabolism, equivalent to the liver and small intestine, will help researchers more comprehensively understand fruit beet metabolism and design appropriate treatments.

what's next

Our team is now examining the regulatory DNA sequences that allow fruit bats to eat a lot sugar and whether we are able to use them to raised control what people eat. How do they react to glucose?

We are doing it. Altering regulatory DNA sequences in mice with fruit bats and examining their effects on how well these mice regulate their glucose levels.