September 9, 2009

Protein found to control form of diabetes

University of Iowa scientists say they've discovered a molecular mechanism regulates specialized pancreatic cells and insulin secretion in a form of diabetes.

The researchers said the mechanism -- found during research into permanent neonatal diabetes, a rare and severe form of diabetes in children -- involves a protein called ankyrin, which the researchers previously linked to potentially fatal human heart arrhythmias.

The scientists said their findings may help identify new molecular targets for treating both rare and common forms of diabetes and hyperinsulinemia -- excess levels of insulin in the bloodstream.

The study that also involved researchers at Washington University in St. Louis is reported in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.