According to novel research reported in Journal of Biological Chemistry states to have discovered a possible driver of type 2 diabetes: vitamin A deficiency. The investigators, from the Weill Cornell Medical College, say their results may led to new therapies for the type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is the very regular form of diabetes in the US, accounting for 90-95 percent of all diagnosed cases.
This condition is characterized by insulin resistance, in which insulin-generating beta cells in the pancreas are not able to function properly.
In accordance with senior author Dr. Lorraine Gudas, vitamin A increases beta cell activity, which means deficiency of the vitamin may play a role in the progression of type 2 diabetes.
There are two kinds of vitamin A.
- Preformed vitamin A, known as retinol, it is present in poultry, dairy, meat and fish products.
- Pro-vitamin A which is known as beta-carotene, is identified in many fruits and veggie.
Vitamin A helps cell development and leads to a healthy immune system and eye-sight.
Earlier researches have proven that, while in fetal development, vitamin A is essential for beta cell development. But Dr. Gudas and co-workers say it was not clear as to if vitamin A performed such a role in adulthood.
Removal of dietary vitamin A led to beta cell decline in adult mice
To figure out, the team examined the beta cell growth among the two groups of adult mice; first group of mice had been genetically changed to be not able to keep dietary vitamin A, while the second group was capable to keep the vitamin from foods normally.
The investigators determined that the mice not able to keep vitamin A experienced beta cell death, which means these mice were not able to generate insulin.
What is more, when the investigators eradicated vitamin A from the diet plans of healthy mice, they determined this guide to significant beta cell loss, causing in decreased insulin production and enhanced blood glucose levels – key aspects needed in progression of type 2 diabetes. When the investigators restored vitamin A to the mice diets, beta cell development increased, insulin production enhanced and blood glucose levels came back to normal levels.
The investigators say their results suggest that lack of vitamin A may be concerned in the progression of type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Gudas states that, how the elimination of vitamin A leads to the death of the beta cells that develop insulin in the pancreas is an essential question we want to answer.
These beta cells in the pancreas are very sensitive to the dietary removal of vitamin A. No one has discovered that before. Our study makes the foundation to take these studies even more into preclinical and clinical settings.”
The team says their outcomes also suggest a synthetic type of vitamin A may have the possibility to invert type 2 diabetes, something they plan to target in future study.