A promising way to delay onset of type 1 diabetes is to reduce the concentration of apolipoprotein CIII (apoCIII) in blood. This discovery is presented in a newly published article in PNAS from June 2011. It took twice as long for the rats that have undergone therapy reducing apoCIII to develop type 1 diabetes.
Patients suffering from type 1 diabetes have high levels of apoCIII in their blood. Whether apoCIII is a diabetes-inducing factor has so far been unclear.
Researchers in Professor Berggren’s group have worked with rats that have a predisposition to develop a form of type 1 diabetes similar to the disease in humans. Blood tests in these rats show high concentration of apoCIII even before onset of type 1 diabetes. Excessive apoCIII leads to premature death of insulin-producing beta cells.
To reduce beta cell death, concentration of apoCIII can be reduced by a specifically designed so called antisense therapy. Following treatment, rats with predisposition to type 1 diabetes got the disease significantly later; it took twice as long before they got diabetes.
A high concentration of apoCIII is therefore believed to be a diabetes inducing factor. There is a potential to delay the onset of the disease by reducing apoCIII concentration in patients with predisposition to type 1 diabetes.
Lowering apolipoprotein CIII delays onset of type 1 diabetes. Holmberg R, Refai E, Höög A, Crooke RM, Graham M, Olivecrona G, Berggren PO, and Juntti-Berggren L. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 June;108(26):10685-9