The 5 molecules that trigger type 1 diabetes when attacked

Scientists have identified the five molecules that the the immune system attack, causing type 1 diabetes to develop.
Type 1 is classified as an autoimmune disease, which means that a patient’s own immune system attacks the body. In the case of type 1 diabetes, it is the pancreatic beta cells. Now scientists have found what the immune system targets. With this discovery, there’s hope to find a way to stop the immune system from attacking these molecules.
Researchers had managed to find four of the five targets, but they struggled to find the last for the past 20 years, and gave it Gilma as a nickname. Now it has been described as tetraspanin-7.

The five molecules

Insulin. A hormone produced by pancreatic beta cells. It plays a role in the regulation of the metabolism of protein, carbohydrates and fat. It promotes the absorption of glucose from the blood.
Glutamate decarboxylase. An enzyme also known as GAD that regulates the metabolism of glutamate. Injections with GAD have shown to preserve insulin production.
Zinc Transporter-8. This protein is located in the membrane of beta cells. As its name suggests, it is involved in zinc transport from into or out of the cell.
IA-2. This protein is found in pancreatic islets.
Tetraspanin-7. The last molecule to be discovered. It is also named TSPAN7 for short. This protein is part of a family of proteins that are found in the surface of cells. This family of proteins play a role in the mediation of signaling pathways for the regulation of cell motility, growth, development and activation.

The future

There is still work to be done to figure out how to block the immune system from attacking these molecules. However, once it happens it could potentially lead to an evolved diabetes treatment. There is a lot of potential in this, so let’s hope that they do find out how to do it.

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