New Approach for the Prevention of Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease

amyloid deposits in the insulin-producing islets of Langerhans of the pancreas are a possible cause of the development of diabetes mellitus type II main constituent of these amyloid plaques is the peptide hormone amylin.. Researchers at the Heinrich-Heine University in Dusseldorf and the Forschungszentrum Jülich show in a recent publication in Scientific Reports that a specially developed binding protein can inhibit amyloid formation.

The atomic resolution three-dimensional structures show that are very similar to the beta Wrapine (gray and black) bound proteins Amylin (green), beta amyloid (red) and alpha-synuclein (orange). Maybe the beta Wrapine developed in Dusseldorf and Julich for preventing type II diabetes mellitus and various neurodegenerative diseases may be used. Copyright: Wolfgang Hoyer

The beta cells within the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas make the essential for sugar metabolism hormone insulin ago. Insulin stimulates the body cells to to absorb glucose from the blood and metabolize. Dying from the beta cells, the body can no longer process efficient enough so that the sugar concentration in the blood increases the sugar glucose. The affected person falls ill characterized in diabetes mellitus type II, a potentially life-threatening disease because too high blood sugar damages the human organs.

Along with insulin the peptide hormone amylin is produced and released in the islets of Langerhans. Under not yet precisely known conditions, several amylin molecules to amyloid aggregates can connect, which are deposited in the islets of Langerhans and lead to the death of beta cells. The Düsseldorf and Jülich researchers led by Dr. Wolfgang Hoyer from the Institute of Physical Biology at the Heinrich Heine University and the Institute of Complex Systems, Structural Biochemistry (ICS-6) at the Forschungszentrum Jülich have a novel binding protein, called beta WRAPIN “HI18” developed which have the amyloid aggregation strongly inhibits at very low concentrations. This binding molecule may therefore be an approach to potentially prevent the onset of Type II diabetes mellitus in patients at risk.

The researchers have studied using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, the three-dimensional structure of the bound to the beta WRAPIN amylin at atomic resolution. They found that amylin this case is present in a so-called beta-hairpin structure, as they are also found in the proteins beta-amyloid and alpha-synuclein.Aggregates of the amyloid beta protein are considered responsible for the development of Alzheimer’s dementia, while alpha-synuclein aggregates are considered causally responsible for Parkinson’s disease.

“Maybe the beta Wrapine developed by us can not only act against the Diabetes formation, but also prevent Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease or delay its progression or even stop,” said Dr. Hoyer, who coordinated the study.