New research in mice raises the question of whether the disease is transmissible
A. Mukherjee et al/J. Exper. Medicine 2017
Type 2 diabetes and prion disease seem like an odd couple, but they have something in common: clumps of misfolded, damaging proteins.
Now new research finds that a dose of corrupted pancreas proteins induces normal ones to misfold and clump. This raises the possibility that, like prion disease, type 2 diabetes could be triggered by these deformed proteins spreading between cells or even individuals, the researchers say.
When the deformed pancreas proteins were injected into mice without type 2 diabetes, the animals developed symptoms of the disease, including overly high blood sugar levels, the researchers report online August 1 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.
“It is interesting, albeit not super-surprising” that the deformed proteins could jump-start the process in other mice, says Bruce Verchere, a diabetes researcher at the University of British Columbia in