Newly discovered human peptide may become a new treatment for diabetes

Even if the obesity trend cannot be reversed, here's hope that it's partner in crime—diabetes—might be thwarted. New research published in the December 2013 issue of The FASEB Journal shows how a recently discovered human peptide, called humanin, could lead to powerful new treatments for some people living with diabetes. That's because research in mice and rats shows that a humanin analogue (a peptide molecularly similar to humanin) increases insulin secretion leading to an increase in glucose metabolism within beta cells.

"Diabetes is a major disease that is expected to affect more than 500 million people in the next two decades," said Radhika Muzumdar, M.D., study author from the Departments of Pediatrics and Medicine in the Divisions of Endocrinology and Geriatrics at Children's Hospital at Montefiore at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York. "Humanin could be a potential weapon in our arsenal in the fight against this global problem."

To make this discovery, Muzumdar and colleagues tested the effects of humanin on in rats and mice; in groups of cells called islets from the pancreas that contain beta cells; and in cultured mouse beta cell lines. In rats, administration of a humanin analog increased in the blood in response to high . The humanin analog increased insulin secretion in islets from both normal mice as well as islets from diabetic mice. In the next step, researchers confirmed that humanin increases insulin secretion in isolated beta cells. The work also demonstrated that this was closely linked to energy production from metabolism of glucose in beta cells. In addition, when the metabolism of glucose in was blocked, humanin did not increase insulin secretion. Finally, humanin levels naturally decline with age, suggesting that humanin or its analogues may be benefit patients with other conditions as well, such as stroke, heart disease and Alzheimer's.

"As global obesity remains at very high levels, so does diabetes," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "This report identifies a promising compound that could have a dramatic effect on public health throughout the world."

More information: Regina Kuliawat, Laura Klein, Zhenwei Gong, Marianna Nicoletta-Gentile, Anjana Nemkal, Lingguang Cui, Claire Bastie, Kai Su, Derek Huffman, Manju Surana, Nir Barzilai, Norman Fleischer, and Radhika Muzumdar Potent humanin analog increases glucose-stimulated insulin secretion through enhanced metabolism in the β cell. FASEB J December 2013 27:4890-4898; DOI: 10.1096/fj.13-231092

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Insulin secretion disrupted by increased fatty acids

Sep 09, 2013

Patients with type 2 diabetes have increased levels of circulating glucose and fatty acids, which lead to disease complications. In healthy individuals, β cells within pancreatic islets release insulin in response to glucose ...

Fractalkine: New protein target for controlling diabetes

Apr 11, 2013

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified a previously unknown biological mechanism involved in the regulation of pancreatic islet beta cells, whose role is to produce and release ...

Recommended for you

Screening for diabetes at dental visits using oral blood

Feb 26, 2015

It is estimated that 8.1 million of the 29.1 million Americans living with diabetes are undiagnosed and many who have diabetes have poor glycemic control. Given that each year many Americans visit a dental provider but not ...

CBT, sertraline insufficient in diabetes and depression

Feb 26, 2015

(HealthDay)—For patients with diabetes and depression, improvements in depression are seen with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or sertraline, with a significant advantage for sertraline, but glycemic ...

Early signs in young children predict type 1 diabetes

Feb 26, 2015

New research shows that it is possible to predict the development of type 1 diabetes. By measuring the presence of autoantibodies in the blood, it is possible to detect whether the immune system has begun to break down the ...

Daily menu plan reduces blood sugar significantly

Feb 25, 2015

A large group of people with diabetes who followed a menu plan created by University of Alberta nutrition researchers for just three months significantly reduced their blood sugar levels.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.