Type 2 diabetes and arthritis: Tobacco plants may benefit health- medicinal uses of the Nicotiana plant

New Delhi: Turns out, tobacco is more than just filler for cigarettes, although it is undeniably one of the most avoidable causes of premature death and disease in the world. According to a new study, the tobacco plant, Nicotiana, may contain powerful therapeutic potential for treating conditions like type-2 diabetes, stroke, dementia an, arthritis, more effectively and at an affordable price.

According to the researchers at the University of Western Ontario and Lawson Health Research Institute in Canada, tobacco plants can be used to produce large quantities of an anti-inflammatory protein called Interleukin 37, or IL-37 – naturally produced in the human kidney in very small quantities. This protein has been shown in pre-clinical models to treat a whole host of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases effectively.

The study, published in the journal Plant Cell Reports, suggested that the tobacco plants may pave the way to provide treatments that are effective and much more affordable than current methods.

Earlier, scientists at the University of Central Florida biomedical found that insulin might someday be grown in genetically modified plants, including tobacco plant, and then be used to prevent diabetes before symptoms appear or to treat the condition in its later stages. In this study, the team of scientists, led by Professor Henry Daniell, genetically engineered tobacco plants with the insulin gene and then gave freeze-dried plant cells to diabetic mice as a powder for eight weeks. Results from their study, reported in the Plant Biotechnology Journal, showed that the diabetic mice had normal blood and urine sugar levels, and their cells were producing normal levels of insulin.

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