Scientists Have Found the Peptide Trigger for Type 1 Diabetes in Animal Tests

Conventional wisdom held that the peptide resulting from the tightest connection of fragment and molecule triggered diabetes. The scientists found, however, that the weakest bond produced the problematic peptide. (Image: MHC II Molecule)

| Jun 24, 2010

Researchers from the National Jewish Health and University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have found a specific protein fragment, or peptide, that stimulates an immune system attack resulting in diabetes. Their experiments in mice contradict conventional wisdom about such peptides and support work by scientists studying autoimmune diseases.

To understand what the researchers found, you have to take the molecular view. A specific molecule, named MHCII, communicates with the immune system by presenting various peptides, which the system learns to attack.

Earlier studies had found an insulin fragment that hooked up with MHCII. But scientists didn't know exactly how that insulin fragment connected to the molecule (like a couple of Lego blocks, there are several ways the two could attach). They also didn't know how it stimulated the immune system T cells that ultimately attack. That's the peptide's job.

Conventional wisdom held that the peptide resulting from the tightest connection of fragment and molecule triggered diabetes. The scientists found, however, that the weakest bond produced the problematic peptide.

"Although scientists have been closing in on the cause of type 1 diabetes, this is the first time that anyone has identified exactly what T cells recognize when they initiate an autoimmune attack in diabetes," said Dr. George Eisenbarth, a co-author of the paper, in a news article.  The findings appear in the new issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings corroborate a theory by Eisenbarth, John Kappler (a professor of Immunology at National Jewish Health) and Brian Stadinski (Harvard Medical School) that peptides produced by such weak bonds are more likely to cause autoimmune disease. This carries clear implications beyond the diabetes field.

"This is the third time that a specific peptide and its binding register have been associated with autoimmune disease," Kappler said. "All three have been peptides that are weakly bound to the MHCII molecule."

* * *


Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: Diabetes, Diabetes, Endocrinology, Health Research, Insulin, Research, The Cure, Type 1 Issues

Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12th Annual Product Reference Guide
  • Insulin Syringe Chart
  • Insulin Pen Needles Chart
  • Fast-Acting Glucose
  • Sharps Disposal
  • Blood Glucose Meters Chart
  • Insulin Pumps Chart
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (0)

You May Also Be Interested In...


Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...

Username: Password:
©1991-2015 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.