New Treatment Target for Type 2 Diabetes

Stopping hyperglycemia-induced beta cell death could prevent diabetes.

Researchers have discovered a new gene that controls hyperglycemia-induced beta cell death.

Over time, hyperglycemic can cause the death of pancreatic beta cells, which are responsible for the production of insulin. This cell death underlies the pathology of diabetes, according to a study published by The FASEB Journal.

Researchers suggest that the protein TSPAN2 may have a role in hyperglycemia-induced beta cell death.

"The prevalence of Type 2 diabetes is significantly increased nowadays," said study author Ik-Soon Jang, PhD. "Our study will be potentially helpful to develop the medicine for the treatment of type 2 diabetes."

Researchers grew human pancreatic beta cells and studied their gene expression, which revealed that highly expressed genes and proteins in hyperglycemic conditions can control cell death.

They also discovered that β-cell apoptosis includes signaling through FAS ligand and pro-inflammatory cytokines, according to the study.

"The revelation of a novel pathway related to the induction of pancreatic beta cells apoptosis could have exciting implications for future treatments for Type 2 diabetes," concluded Thoru Pederson, PhD, editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal. "If drugs that inhibit the loss of these cells can be developed, it may be possible to attenuate disease progression."