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Probiotic helps treat diabetes in rats, could lead to human remedy

Date:
January 27, 2015
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
Researchers have engineered a strain of lactobacillus, a human probiotic common in the gut, to secrete a Glucagen-like peptide (GPL-1). They then administered it orally to diabetic rats for 90 days and found the rats receiving the engineered probiotic had up to 30 percent lower high blood glucose, a hallmark of diabetes.
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This image shows a rat cell re-programmed to express insulin (green). The nucleus is stained blue.
Credit: Reprinted with permission from the journal Diabetes

Science may be one step closer to treating diabetes with a human probiotic pill, according to new Cornell University research.

In the study, published Jan. 27 in the journal Diabetes, the researchers engineered a strain of lactobacillus, a human probiotic common in the gut, to secrete a Glucagen-like peptide (GPL-1). They then administered it orally to diabetic rats for 90 days and found the rats receiving the engineered probiotic had up to 30 percent lower high blood glucose, a hallmark of diabetes.

The study was a proof of principle, and future work will test higher doses to see if a complete treatment can be achieved, said John March, professor of biological and environmental engineering at Cornell University and the paper's senior author.

The researchers found that upper intestinal epithelial cells in diabetic rats were converted into cells that acted very much like pancreatic beta cells, which monitor blood glucose levels and secrete insulin as needed to balance glucose levels in healthy individuals.

"The amount of time to reduce glucose levels following a meal is the same as in a normal rat, … and it is matched to the amount of glucose in the blood," just as it would be with a normal-functioning pancreas, March said. "It's moving the center of glucose control from the pancreas to the upper intestine."

Also, though it replaces the insulin capacity in diabetic rats, the researchers found no change in blood glucose levels when administered to healthy rats. "If the rat is managing its glucose, it doesn't need more insulin," March said.

This technology was licensed by the BioPancreate, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cortendo AB, a biopharmaceutical company incorporated in Sweden and based in Radnor, Penn., which is working to get the therapy into production for human use.

Human patients would likely take a pill each morning to help control their diabetes, March said.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Cornell University. Original written by Krishna Ramanujan. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Franklin F. Duan, Joy H. Liu, and John C. March. Engineered Commensal Bacteria Reprogram Intestinal Cells Into Glucose-Responsive Insulin-Secreting Cells for the Treatment of Diabetes. Diabetes, January 2015 DOI: 10.2337/db14-0635

Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Probiotic helps treat diabetes in rats, could lead to human remedy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 January 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150127104850.htm>.
Cornell University. (2015, January 27). Probiotic helps treat diabetes in rats, could lead to human remedy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 28, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150127104850.htm
Cornell University. "Probiotic helps treat diabetes in rats, could lead to human remedy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150127104850.htm (accessed May 28, 2017).

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