People with migraines are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, while some individuals who develop diabetes become less prone to migraines.
Today, scientists who study the link between these two conditions and explain how The peptides that cause migraine pain can affect insulin production in mice, possibly by regulating the amount of insulin secreted or by increasing the number of pancreatic cells that produce it. These findings could improve methods for preventing or treating diabetes.
The researchers will present their findings at the fall meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
Migraine and diabetes: a link that is not at all obvious
The link between the two diseases is not obvious: “Migraines occur in the brain, while diabetes is associated with the pancreas and these organs are far from each other“, has explained Thanh Do, Ph.D., principal investigator on the project. His group became interested in the subject after a number of articles described an inverse relationship between the conditions.
Researchers already knew that two peptides in the nervous system,Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) play an important role in causing migraine pain. These same peptides, along with the related amylin peptide, are also found in the pancreas. There, they affect the release of insulin from beta cells.
Insulin regulates blood sugar levels by helping other cells in the body to absorb glucose and store it or use it for energy. In type 2 diabetes, those other cells become resistant to insulin and less able to absorb glucose, leading to high blood sugar levels. Beta cells initially compensate by increasing insulin production, but eventually wear out and die, exacerbating the problem.
Because of their role in migraine and diabetes, CGRP and PACAP offer targets for therapies that could treat one of these conditions. Migraine medications that interfere with CGRP and its cell receptors have recently come onto the market and other treatments are being studied. However, more research is needed to elucidate the effects of the peptides. He is trying to clarify the contradictory findings on their impact on insulin.