Insulin-blocking protein unraveled
Novel therapies for diabetes may soon emerge as researchers study a new genetic technique to inhibit an insulin-blocking protein, theoretically allowing the body to process insulin normally.
Novel therapies for diabetes may soon emerge as researchers study a new genetic technique to inhibit an insulin-blocking protein, theoretically allowing the body to process insulin normally. A report on this new technique was published in the September issue of The Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Certain proteins cause insulin inactivity
One piece of evidence came when researchers discovered that diabetic mice, like diabetic humans, have much less miR-30d in their blood than non-diabetics. Researchers were then able to artificially create cells that mass-produced miR-30d in the body, activating the pancreas to pump out insulin. By adding tumor necrosis factors to these new cells, researchers could create an MAP4K4 resistance, improving insulin production even further.
MiRNA-143, a molecule similar to miR-30d, has also been shown to improve insulin production in mice, although more information is needed to determine its functions in humans, according to researchers at Max Planck. Insulin resistance leads to degraded beta cells in the pancreas, which in turn may cause further insulin resistance. Sudden floods of insulin may have an effect on production, so researchers are now also looking into ways in which too much insulin may affect the body adversely. Overly aggressive treatments have been shown to have counterproductive health effects in recent studies.
The American Diabetes Association put the number of Americans with diabetes at 25.8 million in 2011, which is 8.3 percent of the entire population. An additional 79 million people had prediabetes, a condition that often leads to diabetes unless patients take immediate measures to better control insulin production and absorption or reduce insulin resistance.