Diabetes treatment: conical snail venom lowers blood sugar levels, new study finds


Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have discovered a potential treatment for diabetes using snail venom. The smooth, mottled shell is popular among shell collectors for its colorful patterns, but researchers have found that variants of the venom called conical snail insulin (Con-Ins) offer future possibilities for the development of new, fast-acting drugs. for the treatment of diabetes.

A snail extends its trunk and discharges a dose of venom into a tube covered with latex. (PHOTO: Alex Holt / NIST CHS, June 9, 2017)

Finding alternative treatments for diabetes

The team reported finding variants of the conical snail venom that can potentially become alternatives for treating diabetes, according to Ani News. Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering Harish Vashisth said the alarming increase in diabetes cases has prompted scientists to find alternatives to develop effective and economical drugs for diabetic patients.

He added that their recent study on Con-Ins shows that they bind to receptors in the body even better than the natural insulin hormone produced in the pancreas. More so, it can work faster to make them more supportive of stabilizing blood sugar levels and potential new therapies.

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The venom of conical snails lowers blood sugar levels

In the study, the team described how the conical snail venom induces a hypoglycemic reaction that lowers blood sugar levels. They wrote that the peptide sequence of the venom allows it to bind to human insulin receptors and is shorter than the insulin produced in the body.

Science Daily reported that the researchers used insulin-like peptide sequences from VS. by geographus venom as a template to model six different Con-Ins analogs. Then, they performed several independent computer simulations of each Con-Ins variant complex with the human insulin receptor while mimicking a quasi-physiological environment.

Each insulin complex remained stable during the simulations, while the designed peptides bound strongly better than the human insulin hormone. The researchers noticed that the Con-Ins variant exhibits possible residue substitutions in human insulin.

Postdoctoral research associate and lead author of the study, Biswajit Gorai, said the study shows that cone snail venom can be a viable substitute and could potentially motivate future designs for a new treatment for diabetes. despite the shorter peptide sequences.

The researchers also noted that more studies are needed and warned that some cone-shaped snails can also release insulin-like venom, but could be very dangerous and cause hypoglycemic shock that immobilizes fish. or causes the death of man.

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