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Faulty Gene Tied to Diabetes in Mice

Update Date: Jan 04, 2014 09:44 AM EST
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Type 2 diabetes is a chronic illness that occurs when the body's blood sugar levels are too elevated. Without proper treatment or diet, diabetes could lead to many health complications. In a new study, researchers set out to look for more possible risk factors of diabetes. The researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine examined mice models and found that when one of the genes failed to work properly, the mice had a greater risk of becoming hyperglycemic.

According to the team headed by lead author, Bellur S. Prabhakar, professor and head of microbiology and immunology at the University, the gene they studied is called MADD. When MADD does not work properly, the body does not release insulin into the bloodstream. Without insulin, the glucose levels are not regulated leading to hyperglycemia.

For the study, the researchers created a mouse model without a MADD gene. The MADD gene was deleted from the insulin-producing cells within the body. The researchers quickly found that these genetically altered mice had increased levels of sugar in their blood stream.

"We didn't see any insulin resistance in their cells, but it was clear that the beta cells were not functioning properly," Prabhakar said according to Medical Xpress. "The cells were producing plenty of insulin, they just weren't secreting it. Without the gene, insulin can't leave the beta cells, and blood glucose levels are chronically high."

Prabhakar added, "If this drug works to reverse the deficits associated with a defective MADD gene in the beta cells of our model mice, it may have potential for treating people with this mutation who have an insulin-secretion defect and/or type 2 diabetes,"

The researchers are on planning on creating a drug that could help the cells without MADD to secret insulin. The study was published in Diabetes.

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