In a new find, researchers have discovered treatments for type-2 diabetes with the help of two animal species native to Australia. According to researchers, hormones released by the platypus and the echidna have potential to control the blood sugar levels in the human body. These hormones are present in the venom of two iconic animals which can be used to treat diabetes in humans.
These two animal species are exceptions in the animal kingdom as they fall in category of mammals but still they lay eggs instead of giving birth to their young ones. Scientists claim that the two monotremes have evolved an exceptional capability of change the insulin level in the body.
A team of researchers from the University of Adelaide and Flinders University, conducted the study and found that a hormone named GLP-1 released in the gut of the two monotremes can significantly lower blood sugar level in humans and cure type-2 diabetes.
Study authors explained that the effect of GLP-1 is instant but last for only two minutes as the hormone starts degrading. However, they believe that the with some alteration in the hormone we can make it last longer for longer effect.
While commenting on the degradation of hormone, researchers said that it is used as a venom and platypus also delivers in females during the breeding season that is why they have evolved to reduce the effect of duration of the hormone.
“We’ve discovered conflicting functions of GLP-1 in the platypus: in the gut as a regulator of blood glucose, and in venom to fend off other platypus males during breeding season. This tug of war between the different functions has resulted in dramatic changes in the GLP-1 system,” said co-lead author Professor Briony Forbes, from Flinders University’s School of Medicine.
Study authors are optimistic that they can prevent GLP-1 from degrading and harness its power for treating type-2 diabetes which has affected millions of people around the globe.
The study appeared in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.