A Drug May Help Prevent Gastrointestinal Effects of Type 1 Diabetes

As many as 80 percent of people with type 1 diabetes suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms, according to a new study published in Cell Press.

Issues like irritable bowel syndrome, fecal incontinence and abdominal distension are collectively known as diabetic enteropathy, but a new drug could help treat these symptoms and provide some relief for patients.

Researchers from both the U.S. and Italy found that people with long-standing type-1 diabetes have altered colonic stem cells and higher levels of a protein that has a detrimental effect on the the structure of the intestinal mucosal lining.

"A potential new treatment for diabetic enteropathy might reduce the level of [this protein] by preventing its production and release from the liver," said Dr. Paolo Fiorina, from San Raffaele Hospital in Milan.

Preventing symptoms

Other research has shown a connection between type 1 diabetes and celiac disease - another autoimmune condition in which the small intestine becomes damaged.

Diabetes can also cause gastroparesis, a condition that causes the stomach to empty at a slower rate and can cause bloating, vomiting, acid reflux and weight loss.

The new treatment for diabetic enteropathy, when tested on mice, was shown to prevent the onset of gastrointestinal symptoms and restore function and structure of the mucosal lining in the intestines.

"The next challenge really is to create a clinical grade compound," says Dr. Fiorina. "The blueprint has been already established."

Source: Cell Press

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