Chemical produced in pancreas prevented and reversed diabetes in mice
A chemical produced by the same cells that make insulin in the pancreas prevented and even reversed Type 1 diabetes in mice, researchers at St. Michael's Hospital have found.
Type 1 diabetes, formerly known as juvenile diabetes, is characterized by the immune system's destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas that make and secrete insulin. As a result, the body makes little or no insulin.
The only conventional treatment for Type 1 diabetes is insulin injection, but insulin is not a cure as it does not prevent or reverse the loss of beta cells.
A team led by Dr. Qinghua Wang, in the division of endocrinology and metabolism, and Dr. Gerald Prud'homme, in the division of pathology, has studied the role of GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, an amino acid produced by beta cells in the pancreas. The research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Canadian Diabetes Association.
The researchers found that GABA injections not only prevented diabetes in mice, but even reversed the disease. Their findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The significance of GABA is that it corrects both known causes of Type 1 diabetes in mice: It works in the pancreas to regenerate insulin-producing beta cells and it acts on the immune system to stop the destruction of those cells. Those two actions are necessary to reverse the disease and prevent its recurrence. Until now, there has been no effective treatment that achieves both goals at the same time.
GABA has been known for decades to be a key neurotransmitter in the brain, a chemical that nerve cells use to communicate with each other, but its role in the pancreas was unknown. The St. Michael's study is the first to identify and describe GABA's importance in regulating the survival and function of pancreatic beta cells in mice.
GABA and related therapies will have to be tested in human clinical trials before they can be considered as a new treatment for Type 1 diabetes, said Dr. Wang.
"GABA is the first agent to act both by protecting the insulin-producing cells from damage and by decreasing the body's immune reaction against these cells," said Dr. Gary F. Lewis, incoming director of the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre and Director of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Toronto, where insulin was discovered 90 years ago.
"The body's immune reaction against its own insulin-producing cells is responsible for most of the damage that leads to the development of type 1 diabetes. This exciting observation may open up new avenues for the prevention and treatment of Type 1 diabetes in humans."
Drs. Wang and Prud'homme are both clinician scientists in the Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital. In addition, Dr. Wang is an associate professor in the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto and Dr. Prud'homme is a professor in the university's Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology.
"Diabetes research such as this brings us closer to a cure," said Michael Cloutier, president and CEO at the Canadian Diabetes Association. "We are excited to be a part of this significant discovery and look forward to the outcomes of clinical studies."
Provided by St. Michael's Hospital
- New Link Between Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes: Researchers Discover New Way Fats Kill Beta-cells Jun 04, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Gene therapy reverses type 1 diabetes in mice Jun 21, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- New study finds possible source of beta cell destruction that leads to Type 1 diabetes Feb 04, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- How insulin-producing cells develop -- new finding could help fight against diabetes May 17, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Compounds that trigger beta cell replication identified Feb 25, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
21 hours ago From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
In 2008 researchers from the University of Southern Denmark showed that the drug thioridazine, which has previously been used to treat schizophrenia, is also a powerful weapon against antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as ...
Medical research May 17, 2013 | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Scientists investigating the interaction of a group of proteins in the brain responsible for protecting nerve cells from damage have identified a new target that could increase cell survival.
Medical research May 17, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
New findings by researchers carrying out experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science's Advanced Photon Source (APS) help explain why some drugs that interact with two kinds of human serotonin ...
Medical research May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Peptide molecules derived from the body's natural immune system can help boost the body's defence against life-threatening blood poisoning, joint University research has uncovered.
Medical research May 17, 2013 | 4 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A new Montréal study conducted by Dr. May Faraj, associate research professor at the Université de Montréal and invited scientist at the IRCM, along with her research team and medical collaborators, shows ...
Medical research May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
An increasing number of U.S. children are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that require interventions to resolve, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
14 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
The latest makeover to a massive psychiatric tome honored by some, reviled by others and even called the "Bible" of mental disorders is being released Saturday with a host of new changes.
11 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A new case of the deadly coronavirus has been detected in Saudi Arabia where 15 people have already died after contracting it, the health ministry announced on Saturday on its Internet website.
12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Big names in medicine are set to give an upbeat assessment of the war on AIDS on Tuesday, 30 years after French researchers identified the virus that causes the disease.
22 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
23 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A ground-breaking advance in colonoscopy technology signals the future of colorectal care, according to research presented today at Digestive Disease Week(DDW). Additional research focuses on optimizing the minimal withdrawal ...
14 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0