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Platypus venom may be a good natural remedy for diabetes

Harold Mandel's picture

Researchers have discovered platypus venom may turn out to be a new treatment for type 2 diabetes in people.


Diabetes is a very troubling illness which has been on the rise. Researchers believe the venom from platypus may lead to a new treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Researchers say they have disocvered that the same hormone which is produced in the gut of the platypus for the regulation of blood glucose is also produced in the venom of these animals. Professor Frank Grutzner, who is associated with the University of Adelaide and Associate Professor Briony Forbes, who is associated with Flinders University, led this study.

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) stimulates the release of insulin

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The hormone found in platypus venom is called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), and is generally secreted in the gut of both people and animals. This hormone stimulates the release of insulin to lower blood glucose levels. However, this hormone is observed to typically degrade within minutes.

In people suffering from type 2 diabetes GLP-1 is not sufficient to maintain acceptable blood sugar levels due to how short the stimulus lasts. Therefore medication which has a longer lasting form of this hormone is necessary to help give an extended release of insulin.

GLP-1 is found in platypus venom

Co-lead author Professor Frank Grutzner, who is associated with the University of Adelaide's School of Biological Sciences and the Robinson Research Institute, says this research shows that monotremes, or the iconic platypus and echidna, have evolved over time changes in the hormone GLP-1 which make it resistant to the rapid degradation which is normally seen in people. This hormone is found in platypus venom which is produced during the mating season.

This study has been published in Scientific Reports. Scientists are excited that the stable GLP-1 molecules are very desirable as potential treatment for type 2 diabetes. Diabetes offers a great health challenge and so this finding is significant.