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article imageBear gallbladder prevents diabetes

By Tim Sandle     Nov 17, 2013 in Science
A chemical extracted from the gallbladder of a bear stops a cellular stress response and stalls the progression of type-1 diabetes in mice.
Some scientists are of the view that type-1 diabetes is connected to stress responses from the beta cells found in the pancreas, specifically a part called the endoplasmic reticulum. In some pioneering research, it has been shown that reducing the stress response with a compound found in bear bile can slow down the development of type-1 diabetes in mice. Type-1 diabetes is an incurable disease where the pancreas is deficient in producing insulin.
Interestingly, the compound, tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA), has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a variety of ailments, according to National Geographic. If the study proves to be a success in further trials, an artificial compound will need to be made in order to protect the bear population. Bears in China have become an endangered species due to the animals being killed for medicinal compounds.
In an interview, the lead researcher Feyza Engin, said: "The study is exciting because it suggests that improving ER function before the onset of disease could reduce [type 1 diabetes] incidence."
The findings have been published in the journal Science Transitional Medicine.
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