Sue Marshall blogs about diabetes for Desang

Possible Culprit in Type 1 Diabetes Development Identified | March 24, 2010

New research into the enzyme which may cause inflammation in the pancreas could help treatments of Type 1 diabetes sufferers.

Researchers say they may have identified the culprit that leads to the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in Type 1 diabetics, according to a recent article published by Science Daily.

The exact cause of Type 1 diabetes is not known. However, the disease is triggered when the body mistakenly identifies insulin-producing cells as foreign bodies and destroys them. Since people with diabetes are no longer able to produce insulin, the hormone that regulates the level of sugar in the blood, they have to inject insulin into their body frequently or wear an external insulin pump in order to keep their blood sugar under control.

Now, researchers claim that the enzyme 12-Lipoxygenase (12-LO) may help cause inflammation in the pancreas that leads to the destruction of the beta cells. Specifically, they say the enzyme produces certain types of lipids that cause the inflammation.

Researchers experimenting with mice found that deleting the gene that makes 12-LO prevented the development of Type 1 diabetes. Researchers have confirmed that the same enzyme is found in human islets and can lead to the lower insulin levels as well as the destruction of insulin-producing cells.

Researchers say the findings are significant because they can help lead to new treatments of Type 1 diabetes. One researcher associated with the study said the next step is to develop a drug that targets 12-LO to prevent the destruction of insulin-producing cells and combine that with a therapy or drug that can regenerate dead or damaged cells.

Via: Possible Culprit in Type 1 Diabetes Development Identified

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