Scientists Find New Treatment for Type II Diabetes
Posted on: Monday, 15 March 2010, 15:27 CDT
COLUMBUS, Ohio – An experimental oral drug has lowered blood sugar levels and inflammation in mice with Type 2 diabetes, suggesting that the medication could someday be added to the arsenal of drugs used by millions of Americans with this disease, according to new research.
The drug consists of a synthetic molecule that stops the biological activity of a protein called macrophage migration inhibitory factor, or MIF. This protein is implicated in a number of diseases because it is associated with the production of inflammation in the body.
The researchers first determined that mice that have been genetically engineered not to carry the MIF protein are less likely to develop symptoms of Type 2 diabetes. This finding suggested that MIF indeed has a role in at least two hallmarks of diabetes: impaired blood sugar control and the presence of other inflammatory proteins.
The scientists then treated diabetic mice with the investigational drug and found that most animals showed lower blood sugar levels and reduced inflammatory proteins in their blood when compared to untreated mice with Type 2 diabetes.
“We also found that if we stopped administering the drug, then the blood sugar level would go up,” said Abhay Satoskar, associate professor of pathology at Ohio State University and senior author of the study. “This does not present a cure for diabetes, but we think, if it is approved in humans, that it has potential to become an oral drug taken for the long term to control a very common symptom of the disease.”
The researchers supported their animal findings by measuring proteins and hormones in blood samples from a small group of people with Type 2 diabetes and healthy human participants for comparison. The patients with diabetes had significantly higher levels of MIF in their blood than did the healthy patients, as well as higher levels of two compounds that contribute to inflammation and insulin resistance.
“All of this evidence combined suggests strongly that MIF is a viable therapeutic target in Type 2 diabetes,” Satoskar said.
The study appears online and is scheduled for later print publication in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
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