Mechanism discovered behind inflammatory molecule at core of type 2 diabetes

Researchers have identified the mechanism that leads to the production of an inflammatory molecule at the root of type 2 diabetes and other serious health conditions, according to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Previous research has shown that interleukin-1beta is a significant contributor to major inflammatory diseases when over-secreted by cells.

Cedars-Sinai researchers discovered that damaged mitochondrial DNA activate specific proteins within dying cells, triggering the release of interleukin-1beta.

Drug therapies used today block this molecule's action once it is secreted. In the future, scientists could develop medications that prevent the body from producing and releasing the molecule all together.

“If we understand how this molecule is made in the body, we may be able to block it before it is produced,” said Moshe Arditi, MD, executive vice chair of research in the Department of Pediatrics at Cedars-Sinai and author of the study. “Until now, this was the missing piece of the puzzle.”

The discovery could lead to new and more effective therapies for inflammatory diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerotic heart disease and certain strokes.

According to Cedar-Sinai, an estimated 100 million Americans are living with atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis alone.

A paper on the research study is published online in Immunity and will appear in the March print edition of the journal.

Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95 percent of the 25.8 million Americans living with diabetes.

The disease can lead to serious complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputation. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include advanced age, obesity, family history of gestational diabetes, physical inactivity, impaired glucose tolerance, and race-ethnicity. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Native Americans, and some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms of diabetes may include some or none of the following, according to CDC: frequent urination, excessive thirst, unexplained weight loss, extreme hunger, sudden vision changes, tingling or numbness in hands or feet, feeling very tired much of the time, very dry skin, sores that are slow to heal, and more infections than usual.

Nausea, vomiting, or stomach pains may also be present at the onset of type 1 diabetes.

Source: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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