Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What do marine snails and insulin have in common? New approach to treat diabetes?

Date:
May 10, 2012
Source:
Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel
Summary:
The cone snails are predators of the sea. They capture fish by injecting a venom into the prey that consists of a cocktail of different substances. The single components of the snails' venom, so-called conopeptides, are known for their extraordinary pharmacological properties and potential.

A cone snail goes hunting: With its long proboscis and a harpoon-like tooth it injects a venom into a fish, which is then paralysed.
Credit: University of Utah; Picture taken from: H. Terlau et al., Nature 381: 148 (1996).

The cone snails are predators of the sea. They capture fish by injecting a venom into the prey that consists of a cocktail of different substances. The single components of the snails' venom, so-called conopeptides, are known for their extraordinary pharmacological properties and potential.

One example is Ziconotid (Prialt), a conopeptide that is prescribed as a pain medicine. That makes it one of the first medicines to contain substances from marine organisms. In collaboration with scientists from Canada and the USA, research teams at the Universities of Kiel, Lübeck, and Göttingen have examined the venom of the cone snail Conus striatus. They were able to demonstrate that a certain peptide (Conkunitzin-S1) alters the release of insulin in the pancreas cells. Their findings were recently published in the scientific magazine EMBO Molecular Medicine.

"This potentially could be a new approach to the treatment of type 2 diabetes," says Professor Heinrich Terlau from the Physiological Institute of Kiel University and associate member of the Excellence Cluster "Future Ocean." "The action of some substances that are ordinarily used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes is independent of the blood glucose level," Terlau describes. This can lead to low blood glucose, also known as hypoglycemia. "What is new about this substance is that it has a very specific effect. Because of this fact, the likelihood of side effects such as hypoglycemia is minimal," Terlau continues.

Glucose is part of our nutrition. When it enters the digestive system, the pancreas cells release insulin. The sugar is then chemically broken down in the blood. In patients with type 2 diabetes this mechanism is disturbed; they suffer from an excessive sugar level or hyperglycemia. The newly discovered substance, conopeptide Conkunitzin-S1, binds to a specific potassium channel in the pancreas cells and leads to a temporarily increased release of insulin but only if the blood sugar level is raised.

Following oral glucose tolerance tests on rats, the scientists found that Conkunitzin-S1 does not lead to hypoglycemia. In other words, the typical side effects of some conventional type 2 diabetes medications do not occur. "We are working on a way to administer the peptide orally," Terlau says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rocio K. Finol-Urdaneta, Maria S. Remedi, Walter Raasch, Stefan Becker, Robert B. Clark, Nina Strüver, Evgeny Pavlov, Colin G. Nichols, Robert J. French, Heinrich Terlau. Block of Kv1.7 potassium currents increases glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. EMBO Molecular Medicine, 2012; 4 (5): 424 DOI: 10.1002/emmm.201200218

Cite This Page:

Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel. "What do marine snails and insulin have in common? New approach to treat diabetes?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120510100228.htm>.
Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel. (2012, May 10). What do marine snails and insulin have in common? New approach to treat diabetes?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120510100228.htm
Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel. "What do marine snails and insulin have in common? New approach to treat diabetes?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120510100228.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) — Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) — New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) — Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins