Diabetes: scientists discover new therapeutic options to limit collateral damage caused by insulin

A protein that can act as a regulator of blood sugar and lipids under certain conditions has been identified by a group of researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE). The protein, called S100A9, could counteract the side effects of insulin administered to diabetics.

The study published in Nature Communications mentions what a new treatment for diabetes and in general a significant improvement in the quality of life of tens of millions of people could be. In fact, millions of people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes have to resort to insulin injections. Overdose can cause hypoglycemia, a drop in blood glucose levels, while underdose can lead to dangerous hyperglycemia.

In experiments on mice, scientists found that the administration of S100A9 to insulin-deficient diabetic rats led to better glucose management and better control of ketones and lipids. They then discovered that this protein appears to work only when there is TLR4, a receptor placed on the membrane of certain cells, including adipocytes and immune system cells.

Now Roberto Coppari, one of the authors of the study together with Giorgio Ramadori, and his team want to understand the function of the protein S100A9. In this context, they are developing a new treatment that combines low doses of insulin and S100A9 to understand whether it is possible to better control glucose and ketones and limit the same negative side effect of insulin.

“We also want to decipher the exact role of TLR4 to offer a therapeutic strategy that achieves the delicate balance between blood sugar, ketones and optimal lipid control,” explains Coppari himself in the press release.

LINKS AND SOURCES

https://www.unige.ch/communication/communiques/en/2019/diabete-des-traitements-de-nouvelle-generation-bientot-disponibles/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-11498-x

IMAGE CREDIT

https://www.franciscanhealth.org/sites/default/files/2015/10/20/hero-diabetes-managemetn-tools-and-veggies.jpg