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Researchers discover the reason for diabetes defect

A group of Copenhagen University scientists collaborating with Novo Nordisk have shown that the increased activity of one particular iron-transport protein destroys insulin-producing beta cells.

Foto: colourbox

People develop diabetes when the beta cells in their pancreas do not produce enough insulin to meet their body’s needs. New research from the University of Copenhagen and Novo Nordisk A/S links this defect to one particular cellular iron transporter.

“Iron is a vital mineral for the healthy functioning of the body and is found in many enzymes and proteins, for example, the red blood pigment that transports oxygen. But iron can also promote the creation of toxic oxygen radicals. An increase in the iron content of the cells may cause tissue damage and disease,” Professor Thomas Mandrup-Poulsen from the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Copenhagen University explains.

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