GABA Can Reverse Type 1 Diabetes in Human Cells

Researchers at the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Sciences at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, have recently discovered that a new treatment that was previously found to reverse type 1 diabetes in mice could also help humans.


Scientists have known for many years that GABA is an important neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA helps to facilitate communication between nerve cells. In 2011, the researchers proved that GABA could not only prevent mice from getting type 1 diabetes but that it would reverse the disease in mice that already have it.


Scientists believe that this is possible due to the role that GABA serves in the pancreas. While the way in which GABA acts is still unknown, the researchers decided to test the findings of the mice study by injecting mice with human pancreatic cells containing GABA. The human pancreatic cells were able to produce the same effects of reversing and curing diabetes as it had done for the mice. These findings were published to the journal Diabetes.


GABA is produced by human pancreatic cells and is naturally found in the body. While GABA’s function in the brain is already known, the function of this hormone in the pancreas remains unknown. However, the researchers have suggested that finding out the purpose of GABA in the pancreas could be helpful in uncovering why it is so effective for treating type 1 diabetes.


The findings of the study also showed that GABA was effective in improving the survival rate of pancreatic cells that were harvested and transplanted into the mice. Under normal circumstances, roughly 70% of pancreatic cells can die during the transplant. While the findings of the study are promising, more testing will need to be done only in humans as some treatments that have shown promise in mice will not necessarily work as well for humans.

Next Post → ← Previous Post