Cell glue could be used to treat type 2 diabetes

A protein called fractalkine could offer a potential new treatment for people with type 2 diabetes, a new study has revealed.
Fractalkine is expressed in the liver and blood vessels and helps cells bind together and communicate.
A team of scientists at the University of California, San Diego, tested the protein on mice and cultured human islets – clusters of pancreatic cells that include insulin-producing beta cells . They found that administering fractalkine stimulated insulin secretio, which led to improved glucose tolerance .
Their results also showed that when a cell-surface receptor for fractalkine, called CX3CR1, was removed the mice had impaired insulin secretion and glucose tolerance. Administering fractalkine then had no effect in either the mice or the isolated islets .
The research team said it is unclear whether reduced beta cell function is directly caused by lower fractalkine levels or impaired fractalkine signalling, but suggested the protein may lead to the development of new therapies for improving insulin production and beta cell health in people with type 2 diabetes.
“If successfully developed, this could be an important new complement to the therapeutic arsenal we use in type 2 diabetes,” said lead author of the study Dr Jerrold Olefsky.
“It is not likely to ‘cure diabetes’, but it would certainly do a good job at providing glycemic control.”

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