Monday, January 23, 2017
Insecticides mimic melatonin, creating higher risk for diabetes.
A study published in Chemical Research in Toxicology, shows that synthetic chemicals commonly found in insecticides and garden products bind to the receptors that govern our biological clocks. The research suggests that exposure to these insecticides adversely affects melatonin receptor signaling, creating a higher risk for metabolic diseases such as diabetes. The research combined a big data approach, using computer modeling on millions of chemicals, with standard wet-laboratory experiments. 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. This study demonstrates how environmental chemicals found in household products interact with human melatonin receptors, research focused on two chemicals, carbaryl, the third most widely used insecticide in the U.S. but which is illegal in several countries, and carbofuran, the most toxic carbamate insecticide, which has been banned for applications on food crops for human consumption . It is still used in many countries, and traces persist in food, plants and wildlife.