Fixing Inflamed “Pipes” Could Reduce or Prevent Diabetes
Rafael Arrojo E
Nanyang Technological University
His methods are a departure from a common approach in diabetes research, where pancreatic cells are studied mostly in vitro, isolated from signals coming from the brain, liver and the rest of the body. “But we need to see how they work in the body to understand how they fail in the body,” he explains. The best way to observe that in a live animal is, in fact, through the transparent cornea of the eye. After a minimally invasive surgery to implant pancreatic islet cells on the iris, blood vessels begin to grow, anchoring them in position. As the mice he is studying age, Dr. Drigo will be able to monitor the islets, watching how the blood vessel/β-cell relationship changes. He’ll see how individual cells of the islet are functioning, as well as track changes to the structure’s vessels. This environment will let him test the impact on aging islets of a treatment to decrease levels of the inflammatory ApoC3. “If they look better, then I’ll have a link between this molecule, β-cell function and diabetes.”
The fact that drugs to lower ApoC3 are already in development to treat other conditions could make Dr. Drigo’s research great news for diabetes treatment. The protein has been linked to metabolic and cardiovascular disorders, but, until now, no one has looked at ApoC3 from an aging/diabetes perspective. Dr. Drigo hopes these anti-inflammatory products could be reused in a clinical setting, without starting the long, costly drug development process from scratch. The paradigm shift his work could represent for diabetes research has the potential to impact many patients’ lives, and quickly.
Scientific title : Apoc3 Mediates Ageing Of The Vasculature Of The Islet Of Langerhans
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