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:3/21/2016)... -- Unique technology combines v ...   Xura, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... communications services, today announced it is working alongside SpeechPro ... particularly those in the Financial Services Sector, the ability ... a mobile app, alongside, and in combination with, traditional ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... -- Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew ... Hebrew University, announced today the formation of Neteera ... human biological indicators. Neteera Technologies has completed its first ... ... emissions from sweat ducts, enables reliable and speedy biometric ...
(Date:3/11/2016)... -- --> --> ... Market by Technology (Pattern Recognition), by Component (Hardware, Software, ... (On-Premises and Cloud), by Industry Vertical and by Region ... global market is expected to grow from USD 12.49 ... at a CAGR of 19.1%. , ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... Mich. , May 26, 2016  Agriculture nutrients ... Des Moines, Iowa is running their ... Lake Erie and coastal regions ... key to preventing this widespread issue. NECi ... Upper Peninsula, developed a new, easy to ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... , ... May 26, 2016 , ... ... company, today announced several positive developments that position the Company for the future. ... of the transaction, Craig F. Kinghorn has been appointed Chairman of the Board, ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... , ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... Fitzmaurice recently became double board-certified in surgery and surgery of the hand by ... Fitzmaurice is no stranger to going above and beyond in his pursuit of ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... Drug Administration (FDA) has granted the company’s orphan drug designation request covering BHV-4157 ... drug designation granted by the FDA. , Spinocerebellar ataxia is a rare, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: