Many people with cystic fibrosis develop diabetes. The reasons for this have been largely unknown, but now researchers at Lund University in Sweden and Karolinska institutet have identified a molecular mechanism that contributes to the raised diabetes risk.
"The increased risk of diabetes has previously been explained by the fact that cystic fibrosis causes damage to the pancreas, where the blood-sugar regulating hormone insulin is produced. We are the first research group to show that the mutated gene that causes cystic fibrosis also plays an important role in the release of insulin. The risk of diabetes is not only explained by the destruction of the pancreas", said Anna Edlund, a doctoral student at Lund University Diabetes Centre.
Cystic fibrosis is the result of a genetic mutation in an ion channel that normally regulates salt transport in cells, primarily in the lungs and pancreas. The mutation leads to a wide variety of symptoms. Individuals with cystic fibrosis produce a lot of thick, viscous mucus. This makes their airways sensitive to infection, and repeated or chronic lung infections are common. The secretion of pancreatic juice from the pancreas to the intestine is hindered, which causes diarrhoea and poor weight gain.
Left untreated, cystic fibrosis is fatal, but with improved treatment of symptoms, survival has improved. Many people with cystic fibrosis now live beyond the age of 40.
"Cystic Fibrosis is a severe health condition and diabetes exacerbates an already problematic situation", said Malin Flodström-Tullberg, a researcher at the Centre for Infectious Medicine, Karolinska institutet.
Many people with cystic fibrosis have poor sugar metabolism. At the age of 30, around one in four people with cystic fibrosis also has diabetes that requires treatment with insulin. What the researchers have now shown is that the mutation in the cystic fibrosis gene inhibits the secretion of insulin into the blood, which means that the level is insufficient when the demands on the insulin increase, such as after a meal.
"Normally, insulin is released in two stages. The early stage is a rapid response to raised blood sugar and the later stage aims to restore blood sugar levels. In cystic fibrosis, the early stage of insulin release in particular is insufficient", said Anna Edlund, adding:
"Our results also correspond to clinical observations. Many patients with cystic fibrosis who do not have diabetes have normal blood sugar in a fasting state, but raised blood sugar after a meal."
The researchers have worked on insulin producing cells from mice and deceased donors. They have shown that the cystic fibrosis gene plays an important role in the complex chain of events that precedes the release of insulin.
When the cells were exposed to high glucose levels, they responded as expected by increasing insulin secretion, but when a preparation that specifically obstructs the ion channel expressed by the cystic fibrosis gene was added, the cells' ability to release insulin fell significantly.
"Despite being common among cystic fibrosis patients, surprisingly little is known about the mechanisms behind diabetes in this group of individuals. We need to know what causes the problem in order to develop preventive treatments that improve the cells' ability to secrete insulin. Our study provide a first piece of increased understanding how CFTR contribute to insulin secretion", said Lena Eliasson, Professor at Lund University Diabetes Centre.
Lena Eliasson | Eurek Alert!
Penn vet research identifies new target for taming Ebola
12.01.2017 | University of Pennsylvania
The strange double life of Dab2
10.01.2017 | University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction