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Protein may predict development of type 1 diabetes, according to study

Scientists at Georgia Health Sciences University in the United States have found that low levels of the protein interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (or IL-1ra) may be able to predict a heightened risk of developing type 1 diabetes in children .
The researchers hope that identifying children with genes that put them at risk of type 1 diabetes at an early stage will offer the chance to carry out treatment that might prevent them developing the full metabolic condition . It is claimed that lower levels of the protein, which helps to reduce inflammation, could show that inflammation is rising in the body and that the immune system could attack the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas .
It is thought that IL-1 inhibitors, already in common usage for treating arthritis, could lower the chance that someone with a genetic susceptibility to type 1 diabetes will eventually develop the condition.
The study involved examining children with a potential genetic risk of developing type 1 diabetes, and monitoring blood levels of IL-1ra for indications of the metabolic condition. The scientists are also testing laboratory mice that were genetically programmed to not have the IL-1ra protein to explore what effect on the immune function and insulin production.
Sharad Purohit, lead author on the study, commented “There is always a balance between beta cell production and destructio, and any process that can change the balance can push you to disease or help you recover from it.”

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