Diabetes is a disease in which the body cannot produce insulin or cannot use insulin to its full potential. It is characterized by high blood glucose levels. Insulin producing pancreatic beta cells are being destroyed by large concentration of inflammatory signals. This mechanism has been observed in type 1 diabetic patients.
Type 2 diabetic patients are not affected by this problem. Why?
According to new researches, the inflammatory factor CXCL10 is responsible for inflammation and self destruction of beta cells. It uses the protein TLR4 to serve its purpose. In a study involving cell samples taken from people with and without type 2 diabetes, investigators found more than 30 times the amount of an inflammatory factor called CXCL10 in people with diabetes. When they exposed human pancreatic cells to CXCL10 in the laboratory, beta cells were decreased in number, and the ability of the cells to make and secrete insulin declined.
Researchers have succeeded to recognize this protein named TLR4 and are on the way to use it for anti-inflammatory actions on the beta cells. The study has been reported to Cell Metabolism, and published online on February 3, 2009.