Newly Discovered Human Peptide A Potential Future Treatment For Diabetes

shutterstock_162258005Diabetes is a disease that has increasingly affected millions of people worldwide, expected to reach half a billion by the next decade. Although it is not considered as a fatal disease, it can affect a person over a lifetime and with complications that can further worsen as people age. The sad thing is that it currently has no cure. But scientists have been getting some advances in this area. One of the recent ones is the discovery of a human peptide that might just help treat this dreadful disease.

Researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York have discovered that a human peptide called humanin could potentially develop powerful treatments for diabetes. Radhika Muzumdar, M.D., study author from the Departments of Pediatrics and Medicine in the Divisions of Endocrinology and Geriatrics at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York, and colleagues tested the effects of humanin on insulin secretion on rats and mice, in cultured mouse beta cell lines, as well as in groups of cells called islets from the pancreas that contain beta cells.

The researchers applied a humanin analogue, a peptide molecularly similar to humanin, in rats. This resulted in increased insulin level response to high blood glucose levels. The humanin analogue also increased insulin secretion in the islets from both normal and diabetic mice.

The researchers also confirmed that humanin increases the secretion of insulin in isolated beta cells. It was closely linked to the energy production from the metabolism of glucose in the beta cells. The researchers tried to block the metabolism of glucose in the beta cells. This time, the humanin did not increase the secretion of insulin.

The researchers also noted that since humanin levels naturally decline with age, it might also potentially provide some benefits in people with age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, stroke or heart disease.

The results of the study were published in published in the December 2013 issue of The FASEB Journal.

Source: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. “Newly discovered human peptide may become new treatment for diabetes.” ScienceDaily, 2 Dec. 2013. Web. 7 Dec. 2013.


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