Enhancing autophagy in pre-diabetic patients has potential to prevent onset of diabetes

Diabetes affects almost 400 million people worldwide. One of the hallmarks of this disease is a loss of pancreatic β cells, which secrete insulin. In many patients the reduction of β cells is associated an accumulation of a toxic form of a protein produced by β cells, known as islet amyloid polypeptide. There are no therapies or treatment available to restore the β cell populations or function.

Three new studies in Journal of Clinical Investigation identify a pathway that protects β cells from the toxic form of islet amyloid polypeptide. Using animal models, all three groups found that a functional autophagy system, which acts to degrade dysfunctional cellular components, prevents toxic accumulation of islet amyloid polypeptide. Animals that expressed the human form of islet amyloid polypeptide, but produced β cells that were autophagy deficient, developed overt diabetes.

In the accompanying Commentary, Dhananjay Gupta and Jack L. Leahy suggest that enhancing autophagy in pre-diabetic patients has potential to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
Post a new comment
You might also like... ×
Fasting blood sugar and insulin can help determine right diet for people with prediabetes, diabetes