Scientists show type-1 and type-2 diabetes are caused by same underlying mechanism

August 20, 2014

Work by scientists at the Universities of Manchester and Auckland suggest that both major forms of diabetes are the result of the same mechanism.

The findings, published today in the FASEB Journal (20 August), provide compelling evidence that juvenile-onset or type-1 diabetes and type-2 diabetes are both caused by the formation of toxic clumps of a hormone called amylin.

The results, based on 20 years' work in New Zealand, suggest that type-1 and type-2 diabetes could both be slowed down and potentially reversed by medicines that stop amylin forming these toxic clumps.

Professor Garth Cooper, from The University of Manchester working with his University of Auckland-based research team, led the study.

As well as producing insulin, cells in the pancreas also produce another hormone called amylin. Insulin and amylin normally work together to regulate the body's response to food intake. If they are no longer produced, then levels of sugar in the blood rise resulting in diabetes and causing damage to organs such as the heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves if aren't properly controlled.

However, some of the amylin that is produced can get deposited around cells in the pancreas as toxic clumps, which then, in turn, destroy those cells that produce insulin and amylin. The consequence of this cell death is diabetes.

Research published previously by Professor Cooper suggested that this is the causative mechanism in type-2 diabetes. This new research provides strong evidence that type-1 diabetes results from the same mechanism.

The difference is that the disease starts at an earlier age and progresses more rapidly in type-1 compared to type-2 because there is more rapid deposition of toxic amylin clumps in the pancreas.

Professor Cooper's group expects to have potential medicines ready to go into in the next two years and it is anticipated that these will be tested in both type-1 and type-2 diabetic patients. These clinical trials are being planned with research groups in England and Scotland.

Explore further: Preventing diabetes damage: Zinc's effects on a kinky, two-faced cohort

More information: "The pathogenic mechanism of diabetes varies with the degree of overexpression and oligomerization of human amylin in the pancreatic islet beta cells" published in FASEB J - Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology on Wednesday 20 August 2014.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Drug prevents type 1 diabetes in mice, study finds

September 14, 2015

The buildup of a substance in the pancreas during the pre-symptomatic stage of Type 1 diabetes is essential to the development of the disease, Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have shown.

Bacteria may cause type 2 diabetes

June 1, 2015

Bacteria and viruses have an obvious role in causing infectious diseases, but microbes have also been identified as the surprising cause of other illnesses, including cervical cancer (Human papilloma virus) and stomach ulcers ...

Engineered hot fat implants reduce weight gain in mice

August 20, 2015

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have developed a novel way to engineer the growth and expansion of energy-burning "good" fat, and then found that this fat helped reduce weight gain and lower blood glucose ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Aug 20, 2014
Sounds promising... i recently started having symptoms of type II and found some research suggesting fat deposits around the pancreas were likely responsible - and that the condition may be reversed by drastic calorie restriction:

Their recommendation of 700 calories a day however i found to be impractical - never having dieted before i was surprised at the level of cognitive impairment i experienced; reaction times were severely affected, attention and general mental dexterity all went to pot. I work as a despatch rider, surviving on wits and lightning reflexes, and had i kept it up that diet would've killed me within a week..

Apparently i need to lose 16 kg so i'm gonna cut back on treats and take more excersise.. Of course if i could take a pill to melt my amylin deposits i'd do so, but then i'd still be 16 kg overweight...
1 / 5 (1) Aug 26, 2014
Henningsen N.C.: The sodium pump and energy regulation: some new aspects for essential hypertension, diabetes II and severe overweight. Klinische Wochenschrift 63 Suppl 3:4-8. 1985. http://www.ncbi.n.../2582182
Abstract: "There is a growing evidence for that in modern societies the function of the cellular sodium-potassium pump (membrane-bound Na+ K+ ATPase) in several tissues in man cannot respond adequately to demands. This is not seen in any other free-living vertebrates on this earth. The clearly unphysiological very high intake of sodium-chloride (salt) and also alcohol is definitely playing an important role in the development of the common degenerating metabolic aberrations, e.g. essential hypertension, diabetes II and severe overweight, in man. ..." Oops, the floor gas sodium-potassium pump (anaerobic turbo pump) is not enough, our cells are dying and we get sick. And this was clear in 1985!
1 / 5 (1) Aug 26, 2014
Markus Kleinewietfeld et al.: Sodium chloride drives autoimmune disease by the induction of pathogenic TH17 cells. Nature 2013 doi:10.1038/nature11868
"... the significant increase in disease incidence, particularly of multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes, indicates that there have been fundamental changes ... The salt content in processed foods can be more than 100 times higher in comparison to similar home-made meals."
More evidences & references are here & in comments below:
& here: http://padre.uw.h...udal.htm
& here: http://padre.uw.h...sity.htm
1 / 5 (1) Aug 26, 2014
Their recommendation of 700 calories a day however i found to be impractical

This recommendation is very poor and ...? The most important: to reduce the sodium intake, radically. RDA 10th ed. (1989) = 500 mg sodium per day (~ 1,23 g salt). This was the best recommendation ever!
Current Australian 460-920 mg sodium per day. http://www.nrv.go...dium.htm
You can calculate from here: http://www.ncbi.n...16325533
Because, from every viewpoint, the human milk is an evolutionary perfect food. Thus, the human milk is the perfect guide to calculate the optimal adult intakes. But the health scientists do not deal with these facts.

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.