Life Lines

Inflammation makes trout sweeter


Inflammation has the potential to be both beneficial and harmful. It is beneficial when the body uses it to help fight infections or help heal an injury. But inflammation can get out of control in some diseases and can actually become harmful resulting in insulin resistance and a host of other pathologies.

Researchers have now shown that rainbow trout muscle cells actually increase their uptake of sugar in response to the inflammatory signal tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa). These findings mean that inflammation can significantly alter the metabolism of these fish. The figure below (Figure 1 from the article) shows recombinant trout (rt)-TNFa increasing the uptake of the sugar glucose (2DG) in isolated muscle cells.

rainbow_trout 2.gif

Insulin is a hormone released from the pancreas that acts on muscle cells to increase the removal of glucose from the blood resulting in decreased blood sugar levels. Not releasing insulin or having muscle tissues not respond to it properly are the defining characteristics of diabetes. You can watch a pretty neat animation about how insulin works here. What is really interesting about this study is that the inflammatory signal was shown to work through the same pathway as insulin to enhance glucose uptake into the muscle cells.

I wonder if this has any effect on how the meat tastes…

Vraskou Y, Roher N, Diaz M, Antonescu CN, MacKenzie SA, and Planas JV. Direct involvement of tumor necrosis factor-α in the regulation of glucose uptake in rainbow trout muscle cells. American Journal of Physiology 300: R716-R723, 2011.