UT Southwestern Researchers Type 1 diabetes, a complication in managing blood glucose or blood sugar levels can now be treated, or at least the following piece of information suggests so. A groundbreaking research led by the UT Southwestern Medical Center asserts that eliminating the actions of a certain hormone can transform type 1 diabetes into an asymptomatic, non-insulin-dependent disorder. The findings seem to have a greater importance in the medical zone.

While conducting experiments on mice, it was pointed out that insulin becomes completely superfluous. The absence of insulin may not pave way for diabetes or any other abnormality when the actions of glucagon are suppressed. The hormone glucagon produced by the pancreas possibly avoids low blood sugar levels among healthy individuals and triggers high blood sugar in type 1 diabetes patients. It was mentioned that elimination of glucagon action can seemingly restore glucose tolerance to normal and treat type 1 diabetes.

Assumptions claim that when the glucose, or sugar, level in the blood is low, glucagon is released. In case of insulin deficiency, glucagon levels may be inappropriately high and cause the liver to release excessive amounts of glucose into the bloodstream. This action is apparently opposed by insulin and directs the body’s cells to segregate sugar from the bloodstream. At the time of the investigation, researchers genetically altered mice to lack working glucagon receptors. These mice were then subjected to an oral glucose tolerance test which possibly identifies diabetes, gestational diabetes and prediabetes by calculating the body’s ability to metabolize, or clear, glucose from the bloodstream.

Dr. Roger Unger, professor of internal medicine and senior investigator, added, “These findings suggest that if there is no glucagon, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have insulin. This does not mean insulin is unimportant. It is essential for normal growth and development from neonatal to adulthood. But in adulthood, at least with respect to glucose metabolism, the role of insulin is to control glucagon. And if you don’t have glucagon, then you don’t need insulin.”

Mice with normal insulin production but without functioning glucagon receptors presumably responded in a normal manner to the test. The respond was also registered normal in mice with destroyed insulin-producing beta cells. Those with no insulin or glucagon action alleged did not develop diabetes. The research findings can reportedly benefit a large number of people with type 1 diabetes.

The research appears online and will be published in the February issue of Diabetes.