Diabetes type 1 research
Sometimes research leads to unexpected but exciting new discoveries.
This was the case when scientists at Fort Gordon, Georgia were studying the effects of EGCG from green tea on Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease causing dry mouth and eyes.
EGCG is the primary antioxidant catechin polyphenol in green tea.
In order to study Sjogren's syndrome, they used the standard animal model for this disease--a laboratory mouse with genetic defects causing diabetes type 1 (juvenile-onset), also an autoimmune disease.
They studied the mice for 22 weeks, one group with plain water and the other group with green tea EGCG in the water.
Positive findings plus surprise
Positive findings for the EGCG group included significant reduction of lymphocyte infiltration into salivary glands, reduced autoimmune inflammation, reduced serum autoantibody levels, and reduced abnormal cellular proliferation, creating a substantial improvement in Sjogren's syndrome.
But the real surprise was that the mice receiving EGCG from green tea were more than 4 times more likely to be free of the juvenile-onset diabetes type 1 at 22 weeks, despite being genetically defective (Gillespie K, Effects of oral consumption of the green tea polyphenol EGCG in a murine model for human Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease, Life Sciences, October 2008).
In this experiment, EGCG from green tea alone may have prevented or delayed the onset of diabetes type 1 in genetically defective mice.
This is a preliminary study and all results from this study need to be verified and explored before we can draw conclusions from it.
Because type 1 affects young people (as opposed to type 2 or adult onset), many of the diabetic children are at risk of early onset of damage to their eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
Two studies in the Diabetes Prevention Trial-Type 1 (DPT-1) have tested insulin injections and oral insulin for prevention.
Neither trial was successful. Pancreatic islet transplantation is also being studied.
This disease, both type 1 and type 2, and diabetic-related health problems account for 10% of all health care costs in the United States for a total of $174 billion in 2007 (CDC).
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This page was last updated by Sharon Jones.
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