Specific protein may help beta cells survive in type 1 diabetes

June 9, 2014 by Tara Burd, JDRF

Researchers find therapeutic potential of MANF protein to reduce beta cell stress in type 1 diabetes.

In the healthy pancreas of someone without type 1 diabetes (T1D), the hormone insulin (essential for turning food into energy) is produced, stored, and released in a normal "factory-like" process within pancreatic in response to glucose in the diet. Early in the course of T1D, however, excessive or pathologic stress in beta cells compromises their ability to properly secrete insulin, triggering a cascade of events ultimately contributing to the beta cell death. Over the past several years, JDRF-funded researchers have found evidence that beta cell stress may play a role in the onset of T1D, and are exploring possible ways to stop it from occurring, thus potentially protecting beta cell health and maintaining normal beta cell function. In April, JDRF-funded researchers in Finland released new findings in the journal Cell Reports that add another piece to the puzzle of beta cell stress and T1D.

Led by Dr. Mart Saarma, Dr. Maria Lindahl, and Dr. Timo Otonkoski of the University of Helsinki, along with other investigators, the study showed that a protein called MANF (mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor) may help protect beta cells from experiencing excessive or pathologic stress response. In the study, mice deficient in the protein developed rapid-onset of T1D due to a decrease in beta cell mass after birth. In contrast, overexpression of the MANF protein in mice resulted in increased beta cell regeneration and promoted beta cell survival in this mouse model of T1D. The study indicates that MANF protein may thwart beta cell stress, promoting the proliferation and survival of beta cells—information that could prove valuable in the translational development of beta cell survival therapies for humans with T1D in the future.

These findings come one year into a three-year research grant from JDRF to support the discovery and development of potential methods to protect and regenerate beta cells in people with T1D. Still, more research needs to be done in additional animal models of T1D, as one model alone does not precisely mimic the complex pathogenesis of T1D in humans. Additionally, preliminary findings will be validated with human beta cells. The growing knowledge of beta cell biology, thanks to studies like this one, helps to open multiple paths toward potentially preserving and restoring beta cell function in people with T1D.

Explore further: Researchers find beta cell stress could trigger the development of type 1 diabetes

More information: Paper: www.cell.com/cell-reports/pdf/ … 7%2814%2900201-0.pdf

Related Stories

Researchers find beta cell stress could trigger the development of type 1 diabetes

March 22, 2012
In type 1 diabetes (T1D), pancreatic beta cells die from a misguided autoimmune attack, but how and why that happens is still unclear. Now, JDRF-funded scientists from the Indiana University School of Medicine have found ...

Study shows roles of beta cells and the immune system in Type 1 diabetes

March 9, 2012
A new JDRF-funded study shows that many of the genes known to play a role in type 1 diabetes (T1D) are expressed in pancreatic beta cells, suggesting that the cell responsible for producing insulin may be playing a part in ...

Newly discovered mechanism suggests novel approach to prevent type 1 diabetes

November 13, 2013
New research led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) demonstrates a disease mechanism in type 1 diabetes (T1D) that can be targeted using simple, naturally occurring molecules to help prevent the disease. The work highlights ...

No rebirth for insulin secreting pancreatic beta cells

April 24, 2013
Pancreatic beta cells store and release insulin, the hormone responsible for stimulating cells to convert glucose to energy. The number of beta cells in the pancreas increases in response to greater demand for insulin or ...

Researchers find new pathway connected to type 2 diabetes

March 19, 2014
Scientists at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute have discovered a cellular pathway that is responsible for keeping blood sugar levels low in obese or pre-diabetic people, and may prevent ...

Study identifies immune cells that promote growth of beta cells in type 1 diabetes

September 27, 2013
Joslin researchers have identified immune cells that promote growth of beta cells in type 1 diabetes. This study provides further evidence of a changed role for immune cells in type 1 diabetes pathology. The study appears ...

Recommended for you

Genetic discovery may help better identify children at risk for type 1 diabetes

January 17, 2018
Six novel chromosomal regions identified by scientists leading a large, prospective study of children at risk for type 1 diabetes will enable the discovery of more genes that cause the disease and more targets for treating ...

Thirty-year study shows women who breastfeed for six months or more reduce their diabetes risk

January 16, 2018
In a long-term national study, breastfeeding for six months or longer cuts the risk of developing type 2 diabetes nearly in half for women throughout their childbearing years, according to new Kaiser Permanente research published ...

Women who have gestational diabetes in pregnancy are at higher risk of future health issues

January 16, 2018
Women who have gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) during pregnancy have a higher than usual risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease in the future, according to new research led by the ...

Diabetes gene found that causes low and high blood sugar levels in the same family

January 15, 2018
A study of families with rare blood sugar conditions has revealed a new gene thought to be critical in the regulation of insulin, the key hormone in diabetes.

Discovery could lead to new therapies for diabetics

January 12, 2018
New research by MDI Biological Laboratory scientist Sandra Rieger, Ph.D., and her team has demonstrated that an enzyme she had previously identified as playing a role in peripheral neuropathy induced by cancer chemotherapy ...

Enzyme shown to regulate inflammation and metabolism in fat tissue

January 11, 2018
The human body has two primary kinds of fat—white fat, which stores excess calories and is associated with obesity, and brown fat, which burns calories in order to produce heat and has garnered interest as a potential means ...

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.