Study Shows Why Lack of Certain Genes Results in Pancreatic Cell Death
Animal studies previously revealed that when certain gene expressions are lacking, a relatively unknown type of diabetes results. Type 3c diabetes, otherwise known as pancreatic diabetes, develops when mice lack certain genes in a group known as the “E2F” group. New research sheds some light on how and why this damage occurs.The research was conducted at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) by Proffesor of Genetics, Olatz Zenarruzabeitia. She says:
"A few years ago we removed E2F1 and E2F2 from mice, and we saw that this led to pancreatic atrophy, the development of diabetes and premature death. In the current work, we have gone further into the molecular mechanism that explains this."
The specific genes, E2F1 and E2F2, are responsible for proper maintenance of the body’s organs. They aid in cell reproduction and keep the organs healthy by initiating repair.
Hope for a New Treatment
With this new study, the researchers were able to prevent type 3c diabetes in mice lacking the E2F gene. They did this by suppressing a protein called “p53.” The p53 protien is said to activate the pathway that leads to pancreatic atrophy, or pancreas cell death. Dr. Zenarruzabeitia says:
"We crossed mice that did not have E2F1 or E2F2 with others lacking p53, and that way we obtained mice that did not have any of the three. We saw that as they did not have p53, the pathway could not be activated. So there was no pancreatic atrophy and they didn't develop diabetes, either."
The hope is that this research will lead to more effective treatment options for those suggering grom all types of diabetes. There is even some hope that treatment may go beyond diabetics, “for example, (when) they also suffer damage to the salivary gland and the testicles, and when p53 is de-activated, these organs also recover.”