A Novel Marker of Beta-Cell Death and Diabetes in Mice Indentified

T1D is a progressive autoimmune disease that is largely undetectable in its initial stages before an individual is diagnosed clinically and becomes insulin dependent. This is because we currently lack sensitive methods for detecting the onset and progression of beta-cell death. Such tools would improve our ability to predict and ultimately prevent T1D. A certain molecule (called miR-375) involved in building proteins has been found at high concentrations in body fluids. New studies reported in this publication found that miR-375 levels are increased in diabetic and autoimmune diabetic mouse models and that it circulates prior to the onset of disease. Additionally, this increase in miR-375 levels could be reversed by blocking mouse islet cell death in lab experiments. Thus, miR-375 could potentially be used as a marker of beta-cell death and potential predictor of diabetes.

Ramifications for Individuals with T1D:
Markers of early signs of beta cell death in a person with autoantibodies are an urgent need to allow early identification of the disease process before the loss of significant numbers of beta cells. Such individuals could then be candidates for therapeutic intervention with beta cell survival and regeneration therapies prior to the onset of insulin dependence.

JDRF Involvement:
JDRF supported this study and Dr. Majid Mojibian is a JDRF postdoctoral fellow.

Investigators and Institutions:
Suheda Erener, Majid Mojibian, Jessica K. Fox, Heather C. Denroche, and Timothy J. Kieffer
University of British Columbia, CAN

Erener S, Mojibian M, Fox JK, Denroche HC, Kieffer TJ. (2013) Circulating miR-375 as a biomarker of β-cell death and diabetes in mice. Endocrinology. 2013 Feb;154(2):603-8. doi: 10.1210/en.2012-1744. Epub 2013 Jan 15.