Harvard Lab Discovers Hormone That Combats Diabetes

Thursday, 25 Apr 2013 02:35 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Scientists have identified a hormone that can sharply boost the number of cells that make insulin in mice, a discovery that may someday lead to a treatment for the most common type of diabetes.
People have their own version of this hormone, and the new work suggests that giving diabetics more might one day help them avoid insulin shots.
That would give them better control of their blood sugar levels, said Harvard University researcher Douglas Melton, senior author of a report published Thursday by the journal Cell.
Experts unconnected with the work cautioned that other substances have shown similar effects on mouse cells but failed to work on human ones. Melton said this hormone stands out because its effect is unusually potent and confined to just the cells that make insulin.
An estimated 371 million people worldwide have diabetes, in which insulin fails to control blood sugar levels. High blood sugar can lead to heart disease, stroke and damage to kidneys, eyes and the nervous system. At least 90 percent of diabetes is "Type 2," and some of those patients have to inject insulin. Melton said the newly identified hormone might someday enable them to stop insulin injections and help other diabetic patients avoid them.
As for its possible use to treat Type 1 diabetes, Melton called that a "long shot" because of differences in the biology of that disease.
Insulin is produced by beta cells in the pancreas.
Melton and co-authors identified a hormone they dubbed betatrophin (BAY-tuh-TROH-fin) in mice. When they made the liver in mice secrete more of it by inserting extra copies of the gene, the size of the beta cell population tripled in comparison to untreated mice. Tests indicated the new cells worked normally.
Melton said it's not known how the hormone works. Now the researchers want to create an injectable form that they can test on diabetic mice, he said. If all goes well, tests in people could follow fairly quickly.
Dr. Peter Butler, a diabetes researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, who had no role in the new work, cautioned in an email that no evidence has been presented yet to show that the hormone will make human beta cells proliferate.
But Philip diIorio, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, said he found the work to be "quite promising" because it offers new leads for research, and that it might someday help in building supplies of human beta cells in a lab for transplant into patients.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Ebola Virus Mutating Quickly: Scientists

Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 18:19 PM

A single funeral caused many.
Stephen Gire and other health researchers on the ground in Africa had some hope that . . .

Brain-Eating Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water Supply

Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 15:17 PM

The water system that serves several Louisiana communities has tested positive for a potentially deadly brain-eating bac . . .

Certain Toothbrushes Hold 3,000 Times More Germs: Study

Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 15:14 PM

Certain electrically powered toothbrushes contain up to 3,000 times as many bacteria as others, a new study has found.  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved