Navigation Links
Scientists find a new way insulin-producing cells die
Date:2/25/2011

SAN ANTONIO, Texas, U.S.A. (Feb. 25, 2011) The death of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas is a core defect in diabetes. Scientists in Italy and Texas now have discovered a new way that these cells die by toxic imbalance of a molecule secreted by other pancreatic cells.

"Our study shows that neighboring cells called alpha cells can behave like adversaries for beta cells. This was an unexpected finding," said Franco Folli, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine/diabetes at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He is co-lead author on the study with Carla Perego, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology at the University of Milan.

Balance needed to control sugars

Alpha and beta cells are grouped in areas of the pancreas called the islets of Langerhans. Alpha cells make glucagon, the hormone that raises blood sugar during fasting. In the same environment the beta cells make insulin, the hormone that lowers sugars after a meal. Imbalance ultimately leads to diabetes.

"We found that glutamate, a major signaling molecule in the brain and pancreas, is secreted together with glucagon by alpha cells and affects beta cell integrity," Dr. Folli said. "In a situation where there is an imbalance toward more alpha cells and fewer beta cells, as in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, this could result in further beta cell destruction."

Role of alpha cells

Glutamate toxicity is a new mechanism of beta cell destruction not previously known, Drs. Perego and Folli said. It has not been typically thought that alpha cells could themselves be a cause of beta cell damage, they said.

The study also found a protection for beta cells, namely, a protein called GLT1 that controls glutamate levels outside the beta cells. "GLT1 is like a thermostat controlling the microenvironment of beta cells with respect to glutamate concentration," Dr. Perego said.

Early warning

A diagnostic test for glutamate toxicity in the islets of Langerhans is being developed by the authors, Dr. Folli said. Eventually an intervention to slow the process could follow.

Glutamate poisoning is a new candidate mechanism for beta cell destruction in diabetes. Others are high glucose, buildup of a protein called amyloid, and free fatty acids, which are found in patients with type 2 diabetes.

"The vicious cycle in diabetes is that there are several substances that have been shown, also by us, to be toxic to beta cells," Dr. Folli said. "And now we have found a new one, glutamate."


'/>"/>

Contact: Will Sansom
sansom@uthscsa.edu
210-567-2579
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. TCD scientists discover that self-eating cells safeguard against cancer
2. MIT scientists say ocean currents cause microbes to filter light
3. Even in a crowd, you remain unique, UCLA life scientists report
4. Gender gap: Selection bias snubs scholarly achievements of female scientists
5. Brown scientists to discuss best practices for the oceans
6. Scientists discover agaves tremendous potential as new bioenergy feedstock
7. University of Miami scientists find new way to estimate global rainfall and track ocean pollution
8. Scientists discover cell of origin for childhood muscle cancer
9. Choosing your neighbors: MBL scientists see how microbes relate in space
10. Hershey scientists improve methods for analysis of healthful cocoa compounds
11. UCR scientists to explore new genetic tools in mosquito research: Transposable elements
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/27/2016)...  Rite Track, Inc. a leading semiconductor equipment and ... Ohio announced today the acquisition of PLUS LLC. ... Austin, Texas , will significantly bolster ... installations and technical support offerings for TEL Track Systems. ... "PLUS has provided world class service including refurbishment, enhancements ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... DUBLIN , Jan. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "Global ... report to their offering. --> ... of the "Global Biometrics Market in ... offering. --> Research and ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... Calif. , Jan. 20, 2016  Synaptics ... of human interface solutions, today announced sampling of ... solution for wearables and small screen applications including ... as printers. Supporting round and rectangular shapes, as ... offers excellent performance with moisture on screen, while ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/8/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 08, 2016 , ... ... (AI) and leading supplier of Semantic Graph Database technology, today announced the availability ... release of Cloudera Enterprise through the Cloudera Certified Technology Program (CCPT). ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... 2016 --> ... "Company"), the ultra-rapid Point-Of-Care (POC) molecular diagnostics company, today announces ... trachomatis (CT) test to be launched on the Company,s io® ... the CT test is now cleared for sale within the ... The launch of the io® CT test signals a new ...
(Date:2/5/2016)...  In the pharmaceutical industry the medical affairs function ... activities including the identification and engagement of key thought ... high in the oncology therapeutic area where most treating ... Role of Medical Affairs in Oncology Launch Excellence ." ... find better ways to utilize medical affairs to develop ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... February 04, 2016 , ... Morf Media Inc ... an interactive FDA compliance training course, Writing Effective SOPs ... accredited interactive course on Morf Playbook—now conveniently available on smartphones and PCs--provides step ...
Breaking Biology Technology: