Scientists may be on to something. A new brand of anti-bacteria protein could actually spell the death knell of high blood sugar.
The query before scientists was why a bacteria-killing protein would be extant in the pancreas. Normally, there are no bacteria in the pancreas. It was indeed a puzzle until the experts found out that the protein was fulfilling a certain special function.
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This protein was aiding the pancreas in regeneration and in the release of insulin. The study was published in the journal Diabetes and has implications for the treatment of diabetes.
Diabetes is a very destructive malady. Over 400 million people around the globe have diabetes. The disease is identified by a loss of control over the blood sugar levels in the body.
In a normal person, the insulin released by the pancreas keeps the blood sugar levels in check. The problem with diabetics is that those who suffer from it either don’t secrete enough insulin or their bodies don’t respond to its secretion.
Even those who are dependent upon injections of insulin still have many issues in their lives from organ deterioration to a short life span.
“We were looking for this bacteria-killing protein in various parts of the body, and as expected, we found high levels in the gut tissues that are exposed to bacteria,” explained Dr. Scott, a senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and professor at the University of Ottawa.
“However, we also found it in the pancreas, which was a complete shock because the pancreas isn’t typically exposed to bacteria.”
There are three types of diabetes. Of these Type 1 is such that in it the immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Normally, the immune system attacks bacteria and viruses that come from outside and are harmful to boot.
However, when it starts attacking the body’s own tissues things start to go out of whack. The exact cause of this sorry state of affairs is thought to be due to genes, faulty nutrition, harmful bacteria and viruses. They are the main culprits in the diabetic equation.
The bacteria-killing protein is termed cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (CAMP). It may have a connection with the onset of diabetes. The exact role of this protein is not known with surety though.
The presence of the protein in the body was found to be at a maximum inside the stomach and the intestines. These regions are especially open to bacterial influence.
CAMP was also found in the pancreas leading to further analysis by researchers. CAMP is produced by the same cells in the pancreas that produce insulin in all sorts of creatures including rats, mice and human beings.
Once samples of CAMP were administered to pancreatic cells, they increased their insulin secretions to twice the previous levels. This is a miracle in a bottle.
With CAMP being administered to diabetic mice in the lab, pancreatic regeneration took place and the gut bacteria also multiplied beyond the usual levels.
The genes for CAMP were also lower in mice with diabetes. The future implications of this research are very real. Diabetes could one day be a thing of the past thanks to these findings.
“Our study uncovers an intriguing new role for this protein in pancreas function and regeneration, with possible links to diabetes-associated gut bacteria,” said Dr. Scott.
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“We certainly don’t have all the answers yet, but our findings raise the exciting possibility of novel treatments for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.”