In research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, scientists are trying to understand how recovery might be encouraged and why people with diabetes tend to have lingering behavioral symptoms such as fatigue and apathy long after many infections end.
Their latest research found that mice given vanadium -- in its typical vanadyl sulfate form -- before exposure to a pathogen sped recovery in both diabetic and non-diabetic animals. They also tested pre-treatment with insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which vanadium mimics, but only the non-diabetic mice recovered quickly after exposure.
The new paper appeared on line Oct. 10 ahead of regular journal publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers Daniel R. Johnson, a doctoral student, and Dr. Gregory Freund, head of the pathology department in the College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign, don't suggest adding vanadium supplements to everyday diets. However, they said, the findings raise questions about just how it works and how it might be useful in speeding recovery.
The amount of vanadium used in the study was comparable to that found in nutritional supplements. While its nutritional value is unclear, the body needs an estimated 10 to 20 micrograms a day and obtains it mostly from plant material. Vanadium in much higher levels becomes toxic. Its use for building muscles has not been confirmed, but vanadium has improved insulin sensitivity and reduced blood sugar in diabetic people.
In their research, Johnson first administered a low dose of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a molecule present o
Contact: Jim Barlow, Life Sciences Editor
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign