Researchers say they have found a way to prevent type 1 diabetes in rats that are generally prone to develop the disease. In the past researchers discovered the human protein zonulin and found it is produced in very large amounts in people with autoimmune diseases. This overproduction triggers a number of other reactions that lead to the production of antibodies that can destroy insulin-producing cells in people genetically predisposed to develop type 1 diabetes.
In a more recent study, researchers used diabetes-prone rats to test the effectiveness of a zonulin inhibitor peptide called AT-1001. The peptide prevented diabetes from developing in the vast majority of animals tested.
Thus researchers conclude saying that this discovery could eventually lead to the development of an oral medication to arrest autoimmune diseases in the early stages.