Biomarker identified for early beta cell death in Type 1 diabetes

ScienceDaily | 9/6/2019 | Staff
reantes (Posted by) Level 3
Anath Shalev, M.D., and colleagues at the University of Alabama at Birmingham now have identified an early biomarker of Type 1 diabetes-associated beta-cell loss in humans -- microRNA-204, or miR-204.

"Serum miR-204," Shalev said, "may provide a much needed novel approach to assess early Type 1 diabetes-associated human beta-cell loss, even before onset of overt disease."

MicroRNAs - Animal - Plant - Cells - Gene

MicroRNAs are found in animal and plant cells, where they help control gene expression. In previous work, Shalev found that miR-204 plays key roles in regulating insulin production and other critical beta-cell processes.

Now, in a study published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, Shalev and colleagues report that miR-204, which is highly enriched in human beta cells, is released by dying beta cells. After that release, it becomes detectable in circulating blood.

Measurements - Blood - Samples - MiR-204 - Children

Measurements using human blood samples showed that serum miR-204 was elevated in children and adults with early Type 1 diabetes, and in people with autoantibodies who are at risk for Type 1 diabetes, but it was not elevated in Type 2 diabetes or another autoimmune disease. Furthermore, serum miR-204 levels were inversely correlated with remaining beta-cell function in recent-onset Type 1 diabetes.

"Having a non-invasive, straightforward method sensitive enough to detect early beta-cell loss -- especially prior to the diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes -- is critical in order to allow for any therapeutic intervention to be started as early as possible in the disease process and ideally before the majority of beta cells has been destroyed," Shalev said.

Shalev - Professor - UAB - Department - Medicine

Shalev is a professor in the UAB Department of Medicine's Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, and she directs the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center.

Discovery of the biomarker was a step-by-step, hypothesis-driven process, starting from the observation that miR-204 had 108-fold higher expression in pancreatic islet beta cells...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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