Researchers at Université de Montréal and the Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM) have made a groundbreaking discovery regarding the role of vitamin K in diabetes prevention.
This finding comes after 15 years of basic research in the field.
Published in Cell Reports, the study sheds light on how vitamin K, known for its role in blood clotting, may also help prevent diabetes.
With no current cure for diabetes, this advancement in understanding the disease is significant.
Gamma-Carboxylation and Vitamin K
Gamma-carboxylation is an enzymatic reaction crucial to the blood clotting process, and vitamin K is essential for this process.
However, researchers have suspected for some time that vitamin K and gamma-carboxylation may have other functions as well.
Previous studies have shown a potential link between a lower intake of vitamin K and a higher risk of diabetes.
However, the specific biological mechanisms through which vitamin K protects against diabetes remained unknown.
The Role of Enzymes in Beta Cells
In this study, the team led by Mathieu Ferron, an associate research professor of medicine at UdeM and the IRCM, discovered that the enzymes involved in gamma-carboxylation are present in significant quantities in pancreatic beta cells.
These cells are responsible for producing insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels.
Ferron, a prominent molecular biology researcher, explains, “Diabetes is caused by a decrease in the number of beta cells or their inability to produce sufficient insulin.
This is why our team was particularly interested in this novel finding.”
Identification of ERGP Protein
The researchers aimed to uncover the cellular mechanism by which vitamin K maintains beta cell function. They focused on identifying the specific protein targeted by gamma-carboxylation in these cells.
Their investigation led them to discover a new gamma-carboxylated protein called ERGP, which plays a vital role in maintaining normal calcium levels in beta cells.
This, in turn, prevents disruption of insulin secretion. The study also demonstrated that gamma-carboxylation is essential for ERGP to fulfill its role.
A Breakthrough After 15 Years
This groundbreaking discovery marks the identification of a new vitamin K-dependent protein, ERGP, after 15 years of research. It opens up a new avenue of exploration in the field of diabetes and vitamin K.
Further research is needed to delve deeper into the role of vitamin K and its potential therapeutic applications for type 2 diabetes.
However, this discovery represents a significant step forward in understanding the mechanisms underlying diabetes and offers hope for new treatment possibilities.
If you care about diabetes, please read studies that MIND diet may reduce risk of vision loss disease, and Vitamin D could benefit people with diabetic neuropathic pain.
For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies that Vitamin E could help reduce blood sugar and insulin resistance in diabetes, and results showing eating eggs in a healthy diet may reduce risks of diabetes, high blood pressure.
The study was published in Cell Reports.
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