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New study finds possible source of beta cell destruction that leads to Type 1 diabetes
Date:2/4/2010

NORFOLK, Va. Doctors at Eastern Virginia Medical School's Strelitz Diabetes Center have been stalking the culprit responsible for Type 1 diabetes. Now, they are one step closer.

Members of a research team at the center, led by Jerry Nadler, MD, professor and chair of internal medicine and director of the center, have been studying the role of the enzyme 12-Lipoxygenase (12-LO) in the development of Type 1 diabetes. They hope that targeting this enzyme will hold the key to a cure.

Dr. Nadler and several research colleagues in the EVMS Department of Internal Medicine, including Kaiwen Ma, PhD, research instructor; Swarup K. Chakrabarti, PhD, research assistant professor; and David A. Taylor-Fishwick, PhD, associate professor, recently published their findings in the February issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition that develops when the pancreas stops generating enough insulin to maintain normal levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Insulin moves sugar from the bloodstream to cells so that it can be used to generate energy. In Type 1 diabetes, a person's immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells, found only in the pancreas. When the beta cells die, the body no longer can produce enough insulin to regulate blood-glucose levels, and this can lead to serious health complications, even death, without treatment.

It is generally understood that inflammation plays a vital role in beta-cell destruction. But the precise factors are not well known. A protein-based enzyme found in beta cells, 12-LO produces specific lipids that cause inflammation and can lead to the death of beta cells in laboratory models. In fact, EVMS researchers have demonstrated that deleting the gene that produces 12-LO prevents the development of Type 1 diabetes in mice.

The challenge has been to validate that 12-LO and its pro-inflammatory lipid products have a role in h
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Contact: Jina Gaines
gainesjn@evms.edu
757-446-7070
Eastern Virginia Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

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