Skip to comments.Breakthrough Sheds Light On Cause Of Diabetes
Posted on 12/15/2006 4:40:10 PM PST by blam
Breakthrough sheds light on cause of diabetes
17:56 15 December 2006
NewScientist.com news service
Alison Motluk and Linda Geddes
One of the root causes of type 1 diabetes may need rethinking the condition may be triggered by faulty nerves in the pancreas, a new study reveals.
Type 1 diabetes has long been described as an autoimmune disease in which the bodys immune system targets islet cells in the pancreas, eventually destroying their ability to produce insulin. Without insulin, the body cannot convert glucose into energy, so people with type 1 diabetes have to regularly inject themselves with insulin to survive.
However, what initiates the original attack on the pancreas had been unclear. It now seems that the nervous system may play a key role, according to researchers in Toronto, Canada. The team eliminated the disease in diabetes-prone mice by knocking out a set of faulty sensory nerves. They believe the finding could chart a new path in treatment of the disease in humans.
Michael Dosch at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and colleagues, had previously shown that not only islet cells, but the nerve tissue around them was affected as diabetes set in. For this reason, they suspected that certain sensory nerves of the pancreas might be involved. These nerves release a neuropeptide called "substance P" and are usually responsible for ensuring that islet cells produce the right amount of insulin.
The researchers used a chemical to obliterate these nerves in a breed of mice genetically predestined to develop diabetes. It turns out if you remove these specific sensory nerves, the animals dont get diabetes, says Dosch. It was stunning.
When the researchers examined the nerves of diabetes-prone mice and compared them with normal mice
(Excerpt) Read more at newscientist.com ...
If this works on humans, this is huge. This could have a major impact in bringing down the total cost of health care, and of Medicare.
Yup. Not to mention the human agony from this disease.
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