A special receptor appears to be a potential therapeutic target in the prevention and treatment of diabetes. This finding could protect against the development of diabetes and counteract the damage to the pancreatic cells caused by the progression of the disease.

People with diabetes know about the limitations that their illness has on their quality of life. But that could soon be a thing of the past. Because: Researchers from the University of Barcelona (UAB) have found that maintaining the levels of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) in the cells of the pancreas can help protect against the development of diabetes and by the progression of the disease prevent damage caused. So this receptor could serve as a potential therapeutic target in the prevention and treatment of the disease.

 

Vitamin D deficiency has already been linked to a higher prevalence of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. A relationship between the disease and variations in the vitamin D receptor gene has been described. However, the specific involvement of this vitamin receptor in the development of the disease, especially in the β cells, is still unknown. The behavior of the receptor in mice was examined in the new study.

 

The researchers observed lower VDR expression in the pancreatic islets of mice with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. They also found that overexpression of VDR in beta cells from diabetic mice counteracts the disease. At the same time, it has been shown that sustained levels of vitamin D receptors in these cells can maintain their mass and function and protect them against diabetes.

 

This could mean that maintaining VDR expression could make a significant contribution to counteracting damage to the β cells and protecting them from developing the disease. The researchers suggest that in order to achieve positive results, the dosage regimen of vitamin D supplementation should be planned in the absence of a decrease in VDR expression.