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Type 1 Diabetes Gene Therapy prevented Onset of Diabetic Symptoms in Mice Study

June 4th, 2006

Type 1 Diabetes  Gene Therapy prevented Onset of Diabetic Symptoms in Mice Study


Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania were successful at preventing mice from developing the onset of hyperglycemia.  The method for the prevention was by introducing a gene encoding for cytokine.  Cytokine is a protein that arouses and hinders the production and/or job of the immune cells from making insulin producing cells.  The research was first presented at the American Society of Gene Therapy Annual Meeting in Baltimore which was May 31st through June 4th.

There is currently an estimated 700,000 people in the United States that have Type 1 diabetes.  Type 1 diabetes is caused because of an autoimmune disorder. The body attacks the insulin producing cells found in the pancreas.  Not only is do type 1 diabetes individuals have chronic hyperglycemia complications include blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and nerve damage.  Another name for type 1 diabetes is juvenile diabetes.  The disorder usually begins in children however adults also can develop this condition later in life as well.


The gene delivery method used is called an adeno-associated virus in order to introduce the genes for two variations of cytokines that the researchers were testing.  The cytokines tested are named interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interleukin-10 (IL-10).  The cytokines would be directed at the insulin-producing beta cells of non-obese diabetic mice.  The results of the introduced gene therapy using IL-4 prevented the onset of hyperglycemia in these mice.  IL-10 however accelerated the onset of hyperglycemia.

"We know that the prevention of type 1 diabetes requires early intervention in the autoimmune process directed against beta cells of the pancreatic islets. Although the exact mechanism is still under investigation, we believe the protection we observed in our study is due to IL-4 stimulating an increase in regulatory T cells, which are known to suppress the activation of the immune system. However, the most important aspect of our study is that we've shown it is now possible to efficiently insert genes into beta cells in a living organism, allowing us to analyze the effects that different gene products have on the progression of type 1 diabetes," said the lead author Khaleel Rehman Khaja, Ph.D., senior research associate, department of molecular genetics and biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.


The use of gene therapy may be beneficial for preventing the onset of type 1 diabetes if they are genetically have a higher risk.

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Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                   Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:47 PM