EurekAlert! notes a newly discovered role for insulin in metabolism: researchers report "that insulin inhibits a master gene regulator protein known as SKN-1, and that increased SKN-1 activity increases lifespan. SKN-1 controls what is called the Phase 2 detoxification pathway, a network of genes that defends cells and tissue against oxidative stress - damage caused by elevated levels of free radicals (byproducts of metabolism) - and various environmental toxins. The new finding was demonstrated in experiments on the digestive system of C. elegans, a microscopic worm often used as a model organism. ... You can manipulate the expression of SKN-1 and the worms live longer ... The idea down the line is that fine-tuning the activity of SKN-1 may lead to increased resistance to chronic diseases and influence longevity, he said. The work could be important as it relates to diabetes and the many problems associated with the disease, particularly vascular and renal complications. But, today's finding may be most important for what it teaches about aging in general." It may go some way towards explaining some of the unknowns related to IGF-1 signaling and lifespan.