New research suggests that spider venom increases the production of insulin and scientists are hopeful this could eventually lead to a new treatment.
A team from Ulster University in Northern Ireland made the surprising discovery while studying venom from the Mexican blonde tarantula.
The researchers have now created a synthetic version of a key molecule within the venom, which rapidly reduced blood glucose levels in mice.
Scientists pinpointed the insulin-lowering properties in the venom of the spider as a molecule called ATRTX-Ac1.
“Tarantula venom contains millions of biologically active molecules that may have therapeutic potential,” study author PhD student Aimee Coulter Parkhill said.
After creating a synthetic version of ATRTX-Ac1, the insulin secretion from beta cells more than doubled in the laboratory experiment. The molecule also improved beta-cell growth without damaging them.
“We are excited to follow up on our pilot studies to understand how ATRTX-Acq could in the future help people living with type 2 diabetes,” she added.
The experiment could lead to the development of new therapies to help people manage type 2 diabetes and reduce their risk of serious diabetes-related complications.
Type 2 diabetes comes about when the insulin-producing beta cells within the pancreas do not work properly. This results in blood sugar levels going dangerously high, putting them at risk of complications such as heart disease, blindness, and limb amputations.
- Spider venom from the Mexican blonde tarantula could be the key to a new treatment therapy.
- Scientists have found a molecule in the spider’s venom that reduces blood glucose levels in mice.
- Tarantula venom contains millions of molecules that may have potential as diabetes treatments.