Insulin secretion into the body is obstructed in type-2 diabetes, research at the Uppsala University finds.
The main problem in type-2 diabetes is insufficient secretion of the blood glucose-lowering hormone insulin, which is produced by beta-cells within the pancreas and secreted into the bloodstream after a meal.
Type 2 diabetes is a major public health issue with globally more than 400 million individuals affected. Both lifestyle and hereditary components contribute to the disease.
By comparing beta-cells from healthy and type 2 diabetic individuals, the researchers found that the problem lies in the attachment of the insulin vesicles to the cell membrane.
In diabetic beta-cells, arrival of new vesicles at the cell membrane is dramatically slowed, which is likely due to a reduction in several of the proteins responsible for their attachment at the cell membrane. As a consequence, new insulin vesicles cannot assemble their secretion machinery and the amount of insulin that reaches the body is insufficient.
The hope is now that the report can guide the development of new treatments for type-2 diabetes.