Nav: Home

New study: protecting against type 1 diabetes

May 22, 2019

A new study has investigated how exposure to certain triggers can increase the risk of type 1 diabetes.

Researchers from The Westmead Institute for Medical Research are looking at an array of potential triggers that could increase the risk of type 1 diabetes. Results of a recent study have shown how exposure to coxsackievirus can increase this risk. Coxsackievirus is a common virus that causes diseases including myocarditis, Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease and gastroenteritis.

The study discovered a key transcription factor (proteins that help turn specific genes on or off) called hypoxia inducible factor 1-alpha (HIF-1A) is behind this increase in risk. Researchers found that mice missing HIF-1A in beta cells (β-cells) had a much higher risk of type 1 diabetes after infection with viruses, including coxsackievirus. Lack of β-cell HIF-1A increased β-cell death and, in turn, increased the incidence of type 1 diabetes.

Lead researcher Professor Jenny Gunton said the findings highlight the key role β-cells play in the risk of diabetes.

"If they are healthy, then β-cells recover normally after stresses like viral infections, and diabetes does not develop. But, if β-cells don't cope well with these stresses, it can trigger the immune process that leads to type 1 diabetes.

"Our study also showed that the increase in diabetes risk can result from exposure to other stresses, including toxins. So β-cells play a crucial part in preventing their own death when faced with environmental triggers for type 1 diabetes.

"We have now identified that HIF-1A is an important factor in this decision about whether the cells recover, or die. This is the first β-cell specific model to show increased risk of type 1 diabetes with a range of triggers," said Professor Gunton.

The findings highlight HIF-1A as a potential pathway for the development of new preventative measures and suggest the possibility that a vaccine for coxsackievirus could help prevent type 1 diabetes in at-risk people.

This comes at a crucial time, as rates of type 1 diabetes are increasing worldwide.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks and kills β-cells in the pancreas. These are the only cells in the body that make insulin, which we need to control our blood glucose (sugar) levels.

Professor Gunton said, "While there is a strong genetic component to type 1 diabetes, genes alone cannot explain the rising global rates of type 1 diabetes. Currently, the only cures for type 1 diabetes are whole pancreas or islet transplantation, and people have to take insulin for the rest of their lives. So potential preventative strategies are exciting."
-end-
The research paper was published in Cell Reports:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2019.04.086

Professor Jenny Gunton is affiliated with The Westmead Institute for Medical Research, Westmead Hospital and the University of Sydney.

Westmead Institute for Medical Research

Related Diabetes Articles:

The role of vitamin A in diabetes
There has been no known link between diabetes and vitamin A -- until now.
Can continuous glucose monitoring improve diabetes control in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin
Two studies in the Jan. 24/31 issue of JAMA find that use of a sensor implanted under the skin that continuously monitors glucose levels resulted in improved levels in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin multiple times a day, compared to conventional treatment.
Complications of type 2 diabetes affect quality of life, care can lead to diabetes burnout
T2D Lifestyle, a national survey by Health Union of more than 400 individuals experiencing type 2 diabetes (T2D), reveals that patients not only struggle with commonly understood complications, but also numerous lesser known ones that people do not associate with diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes and obesity -- what do we really know?
Social and economic factors have led to a dramatic rise in type 2 diabetes and obesity around the world.
A better way to predict diabetes
An international team of researchers has discovered a simple, accurate new way to predict which women with gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes after delivery.
More Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...