TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Study: Type 1 diabetes may transform intestinal lining

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Up to 80 percent of patients with type 1 diabetes develop diabetic enteropathy, a set of gastrointestinal symptoms that include irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal distension and fecal incontinence, and a recent study suggests that the disease may actual alter the intestines' structure.

A new study conducted by researchers from Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, as well as San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy, led by Dr. Paolo Fiorina and published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, suggests that these complications may be a result of diabetes altering the intestines' mucosal lining. Research on diabetic lab mice with long-term type 1 diabetes revealed altered colonic stem cells (CoSCs) and increased blood levels of a regulatory protein produced in the liver called insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 (IGFBP3).

The researchers are working on developing a preclinical drug to prevent the damage thought to cause diabetic enteropathy.

“A potential new treatment for diabetic enteropathy might reduce the level of IGFBP3 by preventing its production and release from the liver; however, interfering with liver function is somewhat problematic and potentially dangerous," Fiorina said. "That is why we decided to create a new drug capable of quenching free-circulating IGFBP3. When injected into mice, the researchers' investigational drug, which traps IGFBP3, prevented the onset of gastrointestinal symptoms and restored the full function and structure of the intestines' mucosal lining. The next challenge really is to create a clinical grade compound. The blueprint has been already established."

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