The work of Dr Tsugumichi Saito of the School of Medicine, Gunma University, Japan, is aimed at achieving a greater understanding of additional mechanisms of glucose absorption. This, in turn, is allowing Saito and his team to develop a potential path to treatment that could prove an important weapon against diabetes. Different cells have multiple ways of sensing their environment. Typically, cell sensing arises from interacting with chemicals, such as hormones, other cells through cell-to-cell connections and aspects of the local environment such as pH. However, the body requires that cells also respond to a myriad of physical signals. These include temperature and touch, both of which require special proteins capable of producing a chemical signal when affected by changes in these factors (temperature level and external pressure). Skeletal muscle has a different sensing requirement: they must be able to react to being stretched. Muscle cells are packed with protein complexes that allow things to expand and contract, which allows us to move amongst other essential functions. It is important the cells respond to their physical stretching in order to react to the muscle's function. Saito has noticed that one key response of muscle cells to stretching is the additional absorption of glucose. It is difficult to study muscles in vivo at a cellular and biochemical level. There are many complicating factors in a whole organism that make this task tough. Saito has therefore used cell lines to investigate these cells. However, this comes with the disadvantage that the cells are no longer stimulated to act in concert to expand and retract. Therefore, Saito and his team use a mechanical method of stretching the cells. The team noticed that, when stimulated in this way, the cells responded by uptaking more glucose from their environment. In addition, this uptake process seemed to be stimulated by some internal signalling factor from the cell.