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Diabetes

Diabetic enteropathy discovery raises hopes of treatment

Gastrointestinal problems experienced by type 1 diabetes patients could be treated with an experimental drug that inhibits insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3. 

New research found that patients with type 1 diabetes and diabetic enteropathy have high levels of insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3

Source: Shutterstock

Type 1 diabetes patients can experience gastrointestinal problems, which researchers now believe may be due to high levels of insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3

Patients with type 1 diabetes commonly experience gastrointestinal symptoms, which can be severe. However, the underlying mechanism of disease, known as diabetic enteropathy, is unknown. 

New research, published in Cell Stem Cell (2015;17:486–498)[1], found that patients with type 1 diabetes and diabetic enteropathy have high levels of insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 (IGFBP3), which is antiproliferative and promotes stem cell death in the intestinal lining, damaging its structure. 

An international team led by Harvard Medical School found that in patients who underwent pancreas and kidney transplantation, resolution of hyperglycaemia was accompanied by normalisation of IGFBP3 levels and restoration of the intestinal lining. 

Additionally, in a mouse model, an experimental drug that inhibits IGFBP3 allowed intestinal samples to grow normally in vitro, suggesting that a similar pharmaceutical strategy could be developed for diabetic enteropathy in humans. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20069501

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  • New research found that patients with type 1 diabetes and diabetic enteropathy have high levels of insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3

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