Superoxide dismutase is a prophylactic against alloxan diabetes

Abstract

A single injection of alloxan1, or alloxan-like derivatives of uric acid2,3, kills the insulin-producing islet β-cells and causes diabetes mellitus in animals. This effect is probably mediated by a sequence of redox reactions involving the production of superoxide anion radicals in or near the β-cells4–8. Superoxide anions may also arise in inflammation9–15, and islet inflammation often accompanies the outbreak of human diabetes16, perhaps following the combined onslaught of viruses and chemical agents on the β-cells17. We now report that injections of superoxide dismutase, an enzyme removing superoxide anion radicals, act prophylactically against alloxan-induced diabetes.

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