Scientists in the US say they have found a new hormone that could protect vital cells within the pancreas and prevent people from developing type 2 diabetes.
The protective hormone, known as TLQP-21, was identified by researchers from the Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina inside beta cells – the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas .
The team tested the hormone on mice predisposed to type 2 diabetes and found that it managed to preserve healthy beta cell function and protect the cells from being destroyed, with the tested animals showing considerable improvements in both insulin production and blood glucose levels .
“We think this finding is important because it is the first demonstration that TLQP-21 prevents deterioration of the beta cells and stimulates insulin secretion in the presence of glucose,” the authors commented.
“Because diabetes starts to take hold when the number of beta cells dwindles and insulin production drops, finding the best way to produce more of this protective hormone could be valuable.”
The scientists said that they now plan to test the hormone in rodents with type 1 diabetes, but warned that much more research is required before the anti-diabetic properties of TLQP-21 can be examined in humans.
The research was published in the journal Cell Metabolism .

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