Metal nanoparticles: future cure for diabetes?

Наночастинки металів: майбутні ліки від діабету?

The team of Ukrainian scientists has conducted animal experiments and got first results showing that the chromium nanoparticles may decrease the glucose concentration in diabetes mellitus.

Ukrainian scientists conducted a series of experiments on Drosophila fruit flies showing that chromium-containing nanoparticles may decrease the glucose concentration in the hemolymph of fruit flies. This may potentially give the green light for the development of new approaches in Diabetes mellitus type 2 treatment in humans.

This was reported to Innovation House by Oleh Lushchak, Project Manager, Assistant Professor at the Biochemistry and Biotechnology Department of the Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University (PNU). Research results will be published upon conduction of additional experiments on the cell cultures and diabetic mice.

Research is being conducted by the team of scientists from the Precarpathian National University, the Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University, the Institute for Nuclear Research of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and from the D.F. Chebotarev State Institute of Gerontology of the National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine. Biological properties of nanoparticles were studied in PNU.

It was already known that chromium-based compounds have antidiabetic properties. However, at effective concentrations hay showed some toxic effects

According to Oleh Lushchak, it was already known that chromium-based compounds have antidiabetic properties, but they are toxic if their quantity is large. Moreover, metal nanoparticles were used in various experiments as the carriers of some compounds that are currently used for the treatment of Diabetes mellitus type 2, (e.g. blueberry extract).

The team of Oleh Lushchak with the collaborators decided to check whether the chromium nanoparticles themselves may influence concentration of glucose, which has never been done before. With this end in view, Drosophila flies, with induced T2D type 2, were fed by the chromium-containing nanoparticles of four different types.

The researchers have found that glucose concentration was decreased by two types of nanoparticles: the smallest ones sized 20-30 nm and the biggest ones — 80-100 nm in size. Moreover, used concentrations were much lower than the toxicity limits. Two other types of intermediate size particles had no significant effect on the glucose concentration in the body of experimental animals.

In the nearest future, the scientists are going to conduct similar experiments with molybdenum-containing particles. More clear conclusions are expected after studies related to influence of nanoparticles on the insulin-induced transport of glucose on the liver cells or their effects on decreasing glycemia in diabetic mice.

According to Oleh Lushchak, experiments initiated by his team, may result in development of new approaches in T2D treatment directly with the use of nanoparticles or their use combined with other pharmaceuticals. However, even in case of the most optimistic scenario, drugs based on these studies may appear on the market in 10-15 years.