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Malfunctioning protein may trigger diabetes

A new study has found that a rogue protein may produce a chain reaction that leads to type 2 diabetes . The amyloid protein, which could trigger the reaction that destroys cells that produce insulin, is implicated in many diseases, including diabetes and Alzheimers .
It is hoped that the research, published in the journal Nature Immunology, will bring a greater understanding of the damage the protein brings, and contribute to the development of drugs that target the process. Type 2 diabetes can be brought on by the body’s inability to produce sufficient insulin to control blood sugar levels, and creates a resistance to the insulin that it does have.
Scientists were already aware that deposits from the amyloid protein were sometimes left in the pancreas of people with type 2 diabetes, but believed that the amyloid was damaging the cells directly, rather than because of the abnormal reaction of a macrophage when it ingested amyloid, according to this research. They showed that this reaction caused other cells to become agitated, which released proteins that cause inflammation. It is this inflammation that destroys beta cells, reducing the ability to produce insulin.
It is a complex process, especially as the amyloid protein is present in some type 2 diabetics, but not others, and the team hope to explain why the presence of amyloid deposits can be so damaging, and find a way to stop the process from progressing.

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