The body secretes insulin to regulate blood sugar levels by helping other cells in the body absorb glucose. Type 2 diabetes is when the cells become resistant to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels by helping other cells in the body absorb glucose to use it for energy. When left untreated, the condition can substantially hike the risk of serious cardiovascular ailments. One throbbing pain experienced by many, however, may protect against type 2 diabetes.
However, these same peptides, along with another peptide called amylin, are found in the pancreas, and can influence the release of insulin from beta cells.
In type 2 diabetes, as cells become resistant to insulin and less capable of absorbing glucose, the beta cells will ramp up insulin production to compensate.
To further investigate the peptides’ role, Do’s team at the University of Tennessee devised a new method to glean data from cells, which revealed that the peptides lowered insulin levels in mice.
They believe that the peptides could therefore counter insulin resistance that develops in type 2 diabetes.
Do added: “Despite these positive results you can’t inject peptides CGRP and PACAP into the body as therapeutic strategies for diabetes because these petites cause migraines.
“But once we understand how they exert their effects on insulin secretion, we can design peptide analogs that would control insulin but would not bind to the pain receptor.
“The CGRP and PCAP peptides are each believed to play a unique protective role against type 2 diabetes.
Notably, CGRP limits insulin and amylin production, which could protect cells and help normalise their function.
PACAP, on the other hand, could regulate insulin and promote the proliferation of beta cells, according to the teams’ analysis.
Furthermore, there are currently different anti-CGRP and anti-PACAP treatments under development or already on the market for migraines.
This, Do worries, could consequently increase the risk of diabetes.
However the team remain hopeful their findings will offer targets for therapies that could aid in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.