Scientists uncover potential treatment for painful side effect of diabetes

May 15, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Why diabetics suffer from increased pain and temperature sensitivity is a step closer to being understood and effectively treated.

Research published in the journal Nature Medicine reveals that a multi-national collaboration between scientists from Warwick Medical School in the UK, and universities in Germany, New York, Australia and Eastern Europe, has discovered key information around one of the most distressing side effects of diabetes.

Painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN), which is abnormal and experienced by roughly 50% of patients with diabetes, impairs patients' quality of life and affects sleep, mood, mobility, ability to work, relationships, self-esteem and independence.

Currently there is no clear understanding of how abnormal glucose metabolism produces heightened in diabetics, but this study offers vital new insights. The Warwick team of Dr Naila Rabbani and Professor Paul Thornalley have worked for 30 years on a reactive compound produced excessively from glucose in diabetes called methylglyoxal (MG). The new research led by Professors Angelika Bierhaus, Peter Nawroth and colleagues convincingly shows that MG is a new culprit in pain discomfort and, having pinpointed its relevance, further research is being undertaken to develop ways of inhibiting its activity and therefore reduce pain.

Professor Thornalley from the University of Warwick, explained: “MG appears to attack and modify a key protein in the nerve endings called ‘Nav 1.8’ causing nerves to become super-sensitive to pain and extremes of temperature. So diabetics typically develop a heightened sensitivity to hot and cold, accompanied with intense pain.

“This collaborative research indicates that using small peptides to ‘scavenge’ the problem-causing compound will lead to a reduction in pain and opens up new routes to develop accurate, targeted drug treatments to help diabetics.”

He added that an additional research programme at Warwick is currently investigating ways to increase the amount of an enzyme, glyoxalase 1 (Glo1), which removes MG catalytically.

“With global rates of diabetes increasing each year, our research is offering valuable insight into the science behind why causes so many side effects and ultimately how we can develop treatments to improve patient care and outcomes.”

Explore further: Diabetics urged to steer clear of high fat diet

More information: DOI:10.1038/nm.2750

Related Stories

Diabetics urged to steer clear of high fat diet

March 27, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- The current thinking around following a high fat, low carb diet to encourage weight loss in diabetics with Type 2 Diabetes, may be misguided say researchers from Warwick Medical School.

AAN issues new guideline on best treatments for diabetic nerve pain

April 11, 2011
The American Academy of Neurology has issued a new guideline on the most effective treatments for diabetic nerve pain, the burning or tingling pain in the hands and feet that affects millions of people with diabetes. The ...

New insight into pain mechanisms

April 25, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Researchers in the UCL Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research have made a discovery which could help the development of analgesic drugs able to treat nerve damage-related pain.

Chronic pain gene identified

September 8, 2011
British researchers say they have identified the gene that controls chronic pain, opening the door to new drug therapies that block the chemical processes that cause chronic back pain, headaches or arthritis.

Painful periods increase sensitivity to pain throughout the month

May 6, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Women with painful periods show increased sensitivity to pain throughout their cycles, even when there is no background period pain.

Recommended for you

Diabetes pill might replace injection to control blood sugar

October 17, 2017
(HealthDay)— An injectable class of diabetes medication—called glucagon-like peptide-1 or GLP-1—might one day be available in pill form, research suggests.

Skimping on sleep may contribute to gestational diabetes

October 17, 2017
The amount of time spent sleeping in the United States has dropped significantly in the past twenty years with almost a quarter of women and 16 percent of men experiencing insufficient sleep. Now, a new study has found that ...

Artificial pancreas performs well in clinical trial

October 16, 2017
During more than 60,000 hours of combined use of a novel artificial pancreas system, participants in a 12-week, multi-site clinical trial showed significant improvements in two key measures of well-being in people living ...

Omega-6 fats may help prevent type 2 diabetes

October 11, 2017
The risk of developing type 2 diabetes could be significantly reduced by eating a diet rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, a new study suggests.

Where there's type 1 diabetes, celiac disease may follow

October 10, 2017
(HealthDay)—Parents of young children with type 1 diabetes need to be on the lookout for symptoms of another autoimmune condition—celiac disease, new research suggests.

Type 1 diabetes and the microbiota—MAIT cells as biomarkers and new therapeutic targets

October 10, 2017
Together with colleagues from AP-HP Necker–Enfants Malades Hospital in Paris, scientists from the Cochin Institute (CNRS / INSERM / Paris Descartes University) have discovered that the onset of type 1 diabetes is preceded ...

0 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.