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New Discovery in Preventing Diabetic Complications

Aug 31, 2004

Controlling a specific protein produced by the body, known as a cytokine, reduces the expression of other molecules and helps control inflammation A new study sheds light on the response to infection in people with type 2 diabetes. These individuals develop diabetes associated with obesity. Findings from this study revealed that controlling a specific protein produced by the body, known as a cytokine, reduces the expression of other molecules and helps control inflammation. This is significant because many complications associated with diabetes trigger an inflammatory response.

Tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a type of cytokine, can cause inflammation and damage in soft tissue infections, bite wounds and in periodontal disease. In a recent study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, two groups of lab mice, one normal, the other diabetic, were injected with anaerobic bacteria, a germ present in “approximately one-third of bite wounds and … associated with the formation of abscesses and with relatively serious infections,” to determine how type 2 diabetes affects the inflammatory response in surrounding tissue. Results from the tests demonstrated that the presence of diabetes prolongs inflammation. Following infection, the normal mice were able to rapidly resolve the ensuing inflammation within three days whereas the diabetic mice could not.

“It may be particularly important in diabetics to consider the impact that prolonged inflammation might have on the course of events,” states contributing author Dr. Dana T. Graves, currently a Professor in the Department of Periodontology and Oral Biology at the Boston University School of Dental Medicine. According to the study, diabetics are particularly susceptible to the detrimental effects of infection associated with inflammatory cytokines. Further, inflammation can often be a precursor to complications such as cardiovascular disease and poor wound healing. Dr. Graves concludes, “If excess TNF in diabetics is inhibited, the tendency for prolonged inflammation is reduced.”

Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Aug 2004

New Way to Treat Type 2 Diabetes Developed: A potential new way to treat type 2 diabetes has been developed by Israeli scientists. They created "beta-breakers," which break up incorrectly folded, destructive protein structures that cause type 2 diabetes. These misfolded proteins clump together and form amyloid fibers. The fibers form deposits that destroy surrounding tissue in the pancreas. The study appears in the current issue of the chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie.