November 14 is World Diabetes Day, a chronic disease that affects more than 500 million people worldwide. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form and recently Japanese scientists have discovered the involvement of a protein in causing this persistent hyperglycemia.
The International Diabetes Federation uses every November 14 to raise awareness about diabetes, a chronic disease that affects 537 million people worldwide. Among the three forms of diabetes, type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common: 90% of diabetics are affected by this form of diabetes. It is characterized by chronic hyperglycemia that appears with age and a diet too rich in fat and sugar. If left untreated, type 2 diabetics are at risk of serious long-term health problems.
The mechanisms that lead to the onset of diabetes are of great interest to scientists. In type 2 diabetes, the β cells in the pancreas are exhausted and no longer produce insulin, the hormone that allows glucose to move from the blood into the cells that use it to function. Recently, a Japanese team shed light on the role of a surface protein of insulin-producing pancreatic B cells that tells them whether to produce more insulin or not. A process out of whack in type 2 diabetics.
Wake up the pancreas and insulin production
The protein in question is T-cadherin, a protein present on cells but which also exists in a soluble form never observed before. This soluble T-cadherin travels in the blood and interacts with insulin. Scientists at Osaka University observed that mice that lacked T-cadherin suffered from impaired glucose tolerance when they ate high-fat foods.
Scientists suggest that T-cadherin acts as an insulin production signal for pancreatic β cells. Without it, insulin production would be lower causing impaired glucose tolerance – hyperglycemia, less important than in diabetics, considered prediabetes.
In vitroscientists ‘awakened’ pancreatic β cells by treating them with synthetic T-cadherin, so they started proliferating and producing insulin again, making T-cadherin a potential candidate for treating diabetes. type 2 in humans, if observations made in rodents are confirmed.