Ancient Wisdom: Chinese extract may yield diabetes treatment | Science News

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Ancient Wisdom: Chinese extract may yield diabetes treatment

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1:01pm, June 7, 2006

A plant extract used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat type 2 diabetes could form the basis for new treatments for the disease, scientists now report.

In some cases of type 2 diabetes, a person's pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin, a hormone that prompts cells to take in blood sugar. Studies have indicated that a substance called uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2), which is also secreted by pancreatic cells, reduces how much insulin is produced.

Lab animals that have the symptoms of type 2 diabetes often have high concentrations of UCP2, says diabetes researcher Bradford Lowell of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Animals engineered to lack the protein typically resist becoming diabetic even when they have ri

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