Managing type 2 diabetes with stress-related treatment

A 2009 article published in Science found that a particular gene variant could make insulin-producing cells more sensitive to stress hormones - which impairs them from secreting insulin.

Now, researchers from Lund University in Sweden are testing a treatment for type 2 diabetes that would target this gene variant. Using Yohimbin, a drug that has been deregistered for several years, researchers found that it could block the gene variant's damaging effects in animal experiments and in those with donated human insulin-producing cells.

Yohimbin appears to increase the capacity for insulin secretion, even when the gene variant is present.

Next step is more patient testing

For the study, 50 people with type 2 diabetes were tested, 21 who did not have the risk variant and the rest who did. All subjects were given glucose tolerance tests and, not surprisingly, insulin secretion was 25 percent worse in patients who had the risk gene.

Then, all participants were given either Yohimbin or a placebo on three different occasions, after which insulin secretion was measured again.

"Yohimbin neutralised the effects of the risk gene," said Yunzhao Tang, principal author of the study. "The carriers of the risk gene gained the same capacity to secrete insulin as those without the risk variant."

Modifying Yohimbin to minimize side effects - like higher blood pressure - is necessary, the researchers said.

Source: Lund University

Image courtesy of Photokanok/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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