Diabetes: scientists discover new possible therapy to limit insulin collateral damage

A protein that can act as a regulator of blood sugar and lipids under certain conditions has been identified by a group of researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE). The protein, called S100A9, could counteract the side effects of insulin given to diabetics.

The study, published in Nature Communications, mentions what could be a new treatment for diabetes and in general to significantly improve the quality of daily life of tens of millions of people. In fact, millions of people have to use insulin injections for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Any overdose can trigger hypoglycemia, the drop in blood glucose levels, while an overdose can lead to hyperglycemia.

By performing experiments on mice, the scientists found that by administering doses of S100A9 to diabetic deficient insulin-deficient rats, improved glucose management and better ketone and lipid control were achieved. They then discovered that this protein appears to work only when there is TLR4, a receptor placed on the membrane of certain cells, including adipocytes and cells of the immune system.

Now Roberto Coppari, one of the authors of the study together with Giorgio Ramadori, intends to understand with his team how the S100A9 protein works. In this regard, they are devising a new treatment that combines low doses of insulin and S100A9 to determine whether glucose and ketones can be better controlled and limit the same negative side effect as insulin.

“We also want to decipher the exact role of TLR4 in order to offer a therapeutic strategy that achieves the delicate balance between optimal blood glucose, ketones and lipid control,” explains Coppari himself.

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