A new compound has been discovered by researchers which could potentially target the cause of type 2 diabetes, a study suggests.
Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston developed a drug-screening tool that allowed them to measure molecules supervising processes in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). These molecules are known as chaperones.
The ER is a network of tubules that function during glucose metabolism, involving lipids and proteins. It has been known to researchers that stress of the ER is a key factor in diabetes and other diseases developing, such as cystic fibrosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
This is because insulin resistance occurs when the ER is stressed, which is a precursor of type 2 diabetes. As a result, the demand for new proteins and lipids cannot be kept up.
The researchers found that the compound azoramide protected cells during ER stress, as well as improving blood glucose levels in obese mice and mice with type 2 diabetes.
They suggested that azoramide increased the number of chaperones in the ER. This then led to insulin-producing beta cells functioning better and increased insulin sensitivity.
The Harvard team now aim to test azoramide in human clinical trials to assess if modulating the ER can lead to drug therapies for type 2 diabetes.
The findings from this study were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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