Harmful proteins linked to the development of Type 2 diabetes.

proteinsResearchers have demonstrated that people with have an abundance of a call islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP). The is correlated to the loss of insulin-producing beta cells. play a key role in maintaining healthy by producing insulin. Diabetes and Alzheimer’s show similarities as both are impacted by accumulation of amyloid proteins.

The were published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and reveals that the accumulation of IAPP is due to the failure of toxic proteins being cleared from the cell. The process is called autophagy and in people diagnosed with the cellular removal process appears to be impaired contributing to the destruction of beta cells. The researchers confirmed the results by developing a novel mouse model that was deficient in the autophage process, revealing elevated levels of accumulated IAPP, leading to the death of beta cells.

“Only a few previous studies have reported that autophagy is important for function and survival,” said Safia Costes, a research at the Hillblom Center and the study’s co-first author. “Those studies, however, were not conducted to address the role of this process in the regulation of the amyloidogenic , which is an important contributor to .”

“The goal of our work is to understand the cellular mechanisms responsible for destruction so that we can identify the best targets for protection,” Costes said. “This would aid the development of the next generation of treatments as well as combination therapies for .”


Jacqueline F. Rivera, Safia Costes, Tatyana Gurlo, Charles G. Glabe, Peter C. Butler. Autophagy defends pancreatic β cells from human islet amyloid polypeptide-induced toxicity. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2014; DOI: 10.1172/JCI71981

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