New causes of diabetes discovered
Washington – Researchers have discovered two new genetic causes of neonatal diabetes.
The new research by the University of Exeter Medical School has provided further insights on how the insulin-producing beta cells are formed in the pancreas
The team discovered that mutations in two specific genes which are important for development of the pancreas can cause the disease.
These findings increase the number of known genetic causes of neonatal diabetes to 20.
Lead author, Dr Sarah Flanagan, said that neonatal diabetes is diagnosed when a child is less than six months old, and some of these patients have added complications such as muscle weakness and learning difficulties with or without epilepsy.
She sad that their genetic discovery is critical to the advancement of knowledge on how insulin-producing beta cells are formed in the pancreas, which has implications for research into manipulating stem cells, which could one day lead to a cure.
Neonatal diabetes is caused by a change in a gene which affects insulin production. This means that levels of blood glucose (sugar) in the body rise dangerously high.
The research has been published in the journal Cell Metabolism.