Researchers Discover Potential Target Gene for Treating Type 2 Diabetes

shutterstock_65716306UK researchers have discovered a gene that may be involved in the destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic cells that may contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. Scientists from the Nottingham Trent University in the UK found out that by blocking a gene called TNFR5 can effectively stop the destruction of cells in the pancreas known to produce insulin. This can lead to a potential target for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes leads a silent epidemic that is affecting millions of lives according to the American Diabetes Association, there are about 29.1 million Americans that are living with diabetes. At its worst, the said disease can lead to a variety of complications that can have life-threatening effects. And with the said disease having no cure, those affected by Type 2 diabetes can do nothing but to live with it. The discovery of the said gene may be able to provide scientists with added insight on how to combat this disease.

The researchers have long known that following a high-fat and high-sugar diet can further worsen the destruction of beta cells that produce insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. But the reason behind this has not been clear. Lead researcher Dr. Mark Turner and his colleagues from Nottingham Trent University sought out to determine whether there is a genetic explanation for this.

The researchers started evaluating more than 31,000 genes associated with the pancreas by using  high-density microarray analysis. The aim is to identify those genes that are most sensitive to glucose and fatty acids. They found out that the gene TNFR5 has the highest level of sensitivity to glucose and fatty acids. In a high fat and sugar diet, the gene is overexpressed which leads to the destruction of beta cells in the pancreas. The findings suggest that people with type 2 diabetes are more likely to overexpress the TNFR5 gene that increases the beta cell destruction.

By blocking the said gene in laboratory tests, the researchers found out that it halted the destruction of beta cells when exposed to fatty acids and glucose. This suggests that inhibiting the function of the said gene poses a promising treatment target for type 2 diabetes.

Source: Medical News Today

 

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