Researchers have identified a set of cells in the pancreas that are targeted by the white blood cells and cause diabetes type 1.
The researchers from University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center says their research is likely to change the study of diabetes autoimmunity and may also change the way other autoimmune diseases are studied.
Diabetes type 1 is a metabolic disorder that happens due to rising levels of sugar in the blood, and mostly is due to defects in insulin secretion, insulin function or both. Type 1 diabetes is caused when specific cells that produce insulin in the pancreas are destroyed.
Previously it was thought that these cells might be of different varieties that exist at different locations in the pancreas. The new research suggests that these cells that gets destroyed are nothing but parts of the insulin itself, a peptide called B:9-23. The new concept of single target leads to possibilities that targeting this single peptide should cause the diabetes to be under control.
The research also brings to light the importance of insulin in the study of diabetes, and that of the insulin gene in causing diabetes across the generations.
The study is published in the current edition of journal Nature.
Reference: University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, news release, May 2005