Yale experiment with First World War explosive to reverse type 2 diabetes

Fri, 27 Feb 2015
Scientists at Yale University are experimenting with a chemical used for weight loss in the First World War to reverse type 2 diabetes.

The chemical mitochondrial protonophore 2, 4-dinitrophenol (DNP) was used by munitions factory workers more than 70 years ago. It was mixed with piric acid to make explosives, but exposure to DNP caused workers to lose weight and experience high temperatures.

Yale scientists have since discovered that DNP’s efficiency in reducing liver fat and inflammation could be linked to plasma concentrations.

Reversing type 2 diabetes

A model of DNP that was 100-fold lower than toxic levels reversed fatty liver disease in rodent models with type 2 diabetes, also reducing insulin concentrations and blood glucose.

Lead author Gerald I. Shulman and his team then developed an oral form of DNP, known as CRMP, making the cells of the rodents more sensitive to insulin while also burning away more fat and sugar in the form of heat. This was administered once a day.

The loss of body weight is a key element in reversing type 2 diabetes as is taking the strain off your insulin-producing cells.

Yale scientists report that the new drug would be unlikely to have any side effects due to being used in such low concentrations.

"This study, though promising, involved rats, so further research is needed to find out if this new form of DNP is safe to use and if it might benefit people with type 2 diabetes," said Richard Elliott, Diabetes UK Communications Manager.

"Caution is required when considering these results, because DNP in its original form can be extremely dangerous to health and is not suitable for human use."
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