Overview of Substance P
Substance P in the neuroscience field is a form of neuropeptide that functions as a neurotransmitter as well as a neuromodulator. What this means is that Substance P is a molecule that is similar to proteins and it is used by neurons for communication with other neurons. As part of the signaling mechanism of the brain, it is essential in controlling several important body functions like learning, food intake and memorizing. Found in the brain and in the spinal chord, this molecule is mostly associated with pain and inflammatory processes. Initially, it does not seem to have any connection with diabetes or treating it, so it comes as a surprise when certain studies suggested Substance P diabetes possible cure ideas.
Research on Mice
A study on the relationship between the nervous system and diabetes conducted by a team of researchers affiliated with the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, and the Jackson Library Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, uncovered an important link between the two. In those studies using mice as test subjects, the Canadian-led research team found that using Substance P on mice suffering from diabetes has shown to have a profound effect on the condition. By injecting Substance P into the pancreas of mice suffering from diabetes, their diabetes was reversed with their blood glucose levels returning to normal.
With the beta cells in the pancreas associated with the development of diabetes being in close range to sensory nerves, the nerves related to pain and in turn associated with Substance P, the researchers decided to investigate if there is a relationship between them. They used mice specifically bred to have a high chances in developing Type 1 diabetes in the research.
Substance P in Mice with Diabetes
Mice with early signs of diabetes were injected with Substance P. The signs of diabetes, which is inflammation of beta cells and resistance to insulin, were eliminated after this injection. Blood glucose levels in the mice also returned to normal. It was not a permanent solution, though, because some of the mice began to develop diabetes again. However, some of them went as long as four months without developing diabetes. This time period in mice is said to be equivalent to six to eight years in human time.
What This Means for Humans
With more studies being done to verify the results of the Canadian research and to make the theory of the relationship between diabetes and the nervous system a law, it will be inevitable to see human testing soon for Substance P injections. This Canadian research has introduced the notion that diabetes is also a form of nervous system disease, which can lead to other studies concerning other diseases that may also be connected to the nervous system. This Substance P diabetes possible cure idea is exciting not only for researchers, but also for people who are suffering from the disease.
Diabetes Self Management: Diabetes Reversed in Mice Through Nervous System Treatment
American Diabetes Association: Diabetes Theory Blames Sensory Nerves