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Type 2 diabetes drug can exhaust insulin-producing cells, new study says

A new study has revealed that liraglutide - a drug used to lower blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes patients - can exhaust insulin-producing beta cells in a way that leads to a rise in blood sugar levels.

Researchers from University of Miami, US, and Karolinska Institute in Sweden, conducted a study on mice implanted with human insulin-producing cells.

Blood-sugar suppressors in the form of analogues of the incretin hormone GLP-1 are usually used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, since they stimulate the glucose response of the pancreatic beta cells to make them secrete more insulin.

The researchers examined the effects of liraglutide in mice that had been transplanted with human insulin-producing beta cells in the anterior chamber of the eye. For 250 days, the mice were given a daily dose of liraglutide, and the team examined how the drug affected the transplanted beta cells.

The results showed an initial improvement in the insulin-producing cells, followed by a gradual exhaustion, with reduced secretion of insulin as a response to glucose.

The study has been published in the journal Cell Metabolism.