Team identifies a protein that helps regulate blood glucose and lipids



Insulin, a hormone essential for regulating blood sugar and lipids, is normally produced by pancreatic β cells. In many people with diabetes, however, pancreatic cells are not (or no longer) functional, causing a chronic and potentially fatal insulin deficiency that can only be controlled through daily insulin injections. However, this approach has serious adverse effects, including an increased risk of life-threatening hypoglycemia, and it does not restore metabolic balance. In order to improve therapy, researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, have identified a protein called S100A9 which, under certain conditions, seems to act as a blood sugar and lipid regulator while avoiding the most harmful side effects of insulin. This discovery, that can be read in Nature Communications, paves the way for better treatment of diabetes and could significantly improve the quality of life for tens of millions of people affected by insulin deficiency.



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