Type 2 Diabetics Could Restore Insulin Production, Study Says

A new study from the University of Florida might mean hope for the millions of people around the world diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The findings of FSU's research, which was published in PLOS Computational Biology, indicates that there is a way to restart insulin production in the bodies of type 2 diabetics. According to the scientists, allowing pulses of glucose to enter the bloodstream can kick-start the beta cells.

From Mathematics to Mice

Study co-author Joseph McKenna and his team began their study with a mathematical model. Their model mapped out the regularity of glucose pulses in the pancreas - a kind of "insulin clock" - which helped them determine how best to time the pulses that will restart the body's production of insulin. Then, these pulses were put to the test on non-diabetic lab mice.

As the research team hypothesized, the mice bodies responded to a steady stream of glucose by shutting down the insulin clock, effectively rendering them diabetic. However, as their report explains:

“When controlled pulses of glucose were applied... the insulin clock was restarted. What is more, when the flow of glucose solution followed a feedback loop that simulates the action of the liver, the team found the reactivated islets had the ability to recruit other islets and restart their insulin clock.”

A Chance To Reverse Type 2?

FSU's findings could mean a tremendous breakthrough for the diabetes community. After all, a vast majority of diabetics in the world are type 2. If scientists were able to replicate these results in human subjects, type 2 diabetes just might have met its match.

McKenna and his team are optimistic, too. As they said, "Our results have potential implications for enhancing insulin pulsatility and therefore mitigating the development of type 2 diabetes."

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