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New finding on diabetes trigger
[Posted: Mon 13/09/2010 by Niall Hunter, Editor www.irishhealth.com]
Irish researchers have made an important discovery that could lead to new ways to treat type 2 diabetes.
A research team at TCD has discovered how a malfunctioning protein may trigger diabetes.
It found that a type of immune cell called a macrophage reacted abnormally when it ingested amyloid protein contained in the pancreas of some people with type 2 diabetes.
The "rogue" cell triggered activity in other cells which in turn released proteins that cause inflammation.
This inflammation destroys vital beta cells, which in turn reduces the ability to produce insulin, which leads to the development of diabetes.
The TCD researchers, writing in the journal Nature Immunology, say future drugs could target this process.
Amyloid is implicated in many other diseases, including Alzheimer's.
In type 1 diabetes patients there is a complete lack of insulin in the body and people with this type of diabetes must have regular doses of insulin every day.
In type 2 diabetes, which is often linked to being overweight, there is usually an excess of insulin and the insulin in the body does not work effectively. This group comprises the majority of diabetes patients.
Those with type 2 diabetes generally have their condition managed through diet or or oral medication, although some will require insulin.
Read about a new campaign for better diabetes services in Ireland here
Listen to a report on this research on RTE's Morning Ireland here
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