Science

Researchers explore how a virus can trigger diabetes

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 21, 2020 Published on October 21, 2020

The team believes that this could be instrumental to the treatment of diabetes.

The finding can also be relevant to the Covid-19 as the virus has proven lethal to diabetic patients

New research claimed that some enteroviruses — a genus of viruses that commonly causes diseases with varying severity, can also cause diabetes.

The researchers from the Growth Factors, Nutrients and Cancer Group, led by Nabil Djouder at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), demonstrated how the enterovirus coxsackievirus type B4 (CVB4) could trigger diabetes.

Their study was published in Cell Reports Medicine. The team believes that this could be instrumental to the treatment of diabetes.

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The researchers speculate that the finding could also be relevant to the novel coronavirus as the virus has proven lethal to diabetic patients.

Djouder and the team suggested that since the receptor of SARS-CoV-2 is expressed in the endocrine pancreas, it could operate and lead to diabetes in a similar way that CVB4 does. This could be independent of immune reactions.

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For the study, the researchers worked with animal models engrafted with human pancreatic cells infected by CVB4 and with human and mouse insulin-producing cells, also infected with this virus.

They noticed that CVB4 infection induces deregulation of URI, a protein that regulates the normal functions of numerous cellular activities.

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Lead author Djouder stated: “Similarly to our investigations on enteroviruses, some recent clinical observations have associated SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for CovidVID-19, to diabetes in infected patients.

He added: “Since the receptor of SARS-Co-V2 is present in beta cells, it would be interesting to study if this virus also alters URI function and silences the expression of PDX1 ( insulin promoter factor 1) — a necessary compound for pancreatic development -- to affect beta-cell function, promoting diabetes.”

URI is a protein that regulates the normal functions of numerous cellular activities.

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Published on October 21, 2020
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