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Scientists discover the factor which puts type 2 diabetes into remission following surgery

A gut hormone has been found to restore normal blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes after bariatric surgery.

A gut hormone has been found to restore normal blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes after bariatric surgery.

Researchers identified the role of a hormone called PYY in returning regions of the pancreas that secrete hormones back to working order.

Lead researcher Reshma Ramracheya said that earlier research had mainly focused on the importance of beta cells and insulin secretion in type 2 diabetes.

‘That’s just part of the story,’ she insisted. ‘The fact that alpha cells – and glucagon secretion – are also affected goes some way to completing the equation.’

The team initially considered that a gut hormone called GLP-1 was the driving factor behind the beneficial effects of bariatric surgery. However, the different gut hormone, PYY, was found at higher levels in the blood after the surgery.

Tested further in the laboratory it was found that long-term treatment with PYY could restore a faulty islet function.

The findings may lead to the development of therapies that can put type 2 diabetes into remission without surgery.

‘We’re now looking at how we can translate these findings into a treatment strategy,’ said Dr Ramracheya.

Elizabeth Robertson, director of research at Diabetes UK, which funded the research, described the findings as ‘a vital piece of the puzzle’ for developing drugs to put type 2 diabetes into remission.

Reference

Ramracheya R et al (2016) PYY-dependent restoration of impaired insulin and glucagon secretion in Type 2 diabetes following roux-en-y gastric bypass surgery. Cell Reports.

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