Badly controlled diabetes found to affect bones

Mon, 17 Oct 2011
Research by scientists in the United States and Japan has found that diabetic nerve pain and degeneration starts because of a fusion between bone marrow and nerve cells that can lead to nerve death and dysfunction.

The study showed that too much blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes could mean bone marrow cells to start moving next to nerve and other tissue cells and fusing into them. As bone marrow cells fuse into nerve cells and cells of the nervous system, it results in the cells dying off early and malfunctioning.

The activation of a specific enzyme is known to be a major determinant for the development of diabetic neuropathy, and the team examined bone marrow from normal mice that were susceptible to diabetic neuropathy and transplanted it into mice resistant to the neuropathy, finding that the transplanted marrow made the mice susceptible to the diabetic neuropathy.

However, when they transplanted marrow from mice that were not susceptible to diabetic neuropathy was transplanted into those that were susceptible, the mice that got the transplant were seen to be protected from the problem.

Researcher Lawrence Chan commented on the study, which was published in the FASEB Journal, "Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common and most devastating complications of diabetes."

He added "These experiments show the relationship between neuropathy and bone marrow cells in this disease, demonstrating that uncontrolled diabetes is, indeed, bad to the bone."
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