Navigation Links
Researchers discover mechanism that could convert certain cells into insulin-making cells
Date:4/29/2011

Simply put, people develop diabetes because they don't have enough pancreatic beta cells to produce the insulin necessary to regulate their blood sugar levels.

But what if other cells in the body could be coaxed into becoming pancreatic beta cells? Could we potentially cure diabetes?

Researchers from UCLA's Larry L. Hillblom Islet Research Center have taken an important step in that direction. They report in the April issue of the journal Developmental Cell that they may have discovered the underlying mechanism that could convert other cell types into pancreatic beta cells.

While the current standard of treatment for diabetes insulin therapy helps patients maintain sugar levels, it isn't perfect, and many patients remain at high risk of developing a variety of medical complications. Replenishing lost beta cells could serve as a more permanent solution, both for those who have lost such cells due to an immune assault (Type 1 diabetes) and those who acquire diabetes later in life due to insulin resistance (Type 2).

"Our work shows that beta cells and related endocrine cells can easily be converted into each other," said study co-author Dr. Anil Bhushan, an associate professor of medicine in the endocrinology division at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and in the UCLA Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology.

It had long been assumed that the identity of cells was "locked" into place and that they could not be switched into other cell types. But recent studies have shown that some types of cells can be coaxed into changing into others findings that have intensified interest in understanding the mechanisms that maintain beta cell identity.

The UCLA researchers show that chemical tags called "methyl groups" that bind to DNA where they act like a volume knob, turning up or down the activity of certain genes are crucial to understanding how cells can be converted into insulin-secreting beta cells. They show that DNA methylation keeps ARX, a gene that triggers the formation of glucagon-secreting alpha cells in the embryonic pancreas, silent in beta cells.

Deletion of Dnmt1, the enzyme responsible for DNA methylation, from insulin-producing beta cells converts them into alpha cells.

These findings suggest that a defect in beta cells' DNA methylation process interferes with their ability to maintain their "identity." So if this "epigenetic mechanism," as the researchers call it, can produce alpha cells, there may be an analogous mechanism that can produce beta cells that would maintain blood sugar equilibrium.

"We show that the basis for this conversion depends not on genetic sequences but on modifications to the DNA that dictates how the DNA is wrapped within the cell," Bhushan said. "We think this is crucial to understanding how to convert a variety of cell types, including stem cells, into functional beta cells."

According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million children and adults in the U.S. 8.3 percent of the population have diabetes.


'/>"/>

Contact: Enrique Rivero
erivero@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2273
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Unintentional child injuries, deaths can be prevented, public health researchers say
2. Researchers Describe Gene Activity in Living Cells
3. Researchers observe disruptions of daily rhythms in Alzheimers patients brains
4. Researchers identify novel pathophysiologic mechanism responsible for autoimmunity
5. Researchers report widespread use of medications among pregnant women
6. Couch-Potato Kids: It Shows in Their Eyes, Researchers Say
7. Antidepressants may not improve all symptoms of depression, UT Southwestern researchers find
8. Women Taking Calcium Supplements May Risk Heart Health, Researchers Say
9. Limiting carbs, not calories, reduces liver fat faster, UT Southwestern researchers find
10. Mutated gene found in dog disease the same in humans, MU researchers find
11. Researchers inject nanofiber spheres carrying cells into wounds to grow tissue
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th Annual Kids ... Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, Jon Letko, ... run is geared towards children of all ages; it is a non-competitive, non-timed event, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... “America On The Brink”: the Christian history of the United States and the ... published author, William Nowers. Captain Nowers and his wife, Millie, have six children, ... in the Navy. Following his career as a naval aviator and carrier pilot, ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... PALM CITY, Fla. (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... of cold therapy products, announced today the introduction of an innovative new design of ... the multipurpose pad so you get maximum comfort while controlling your pain while using ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... HMP , a leader in healthcare ... Folio Magazine Eddie Digital Award for ‘Best B-to-B Healthcare Website.’ Winners were announced during ... , The annual award competition recognizes editorial and design excellence across a range of ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... In the United ... year. In some states—like New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Texas, Virginia, Connecticut, and ... havens have extremely low property-tax rates, which contributes to the relatively lower cost ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... 2017  Caris Life Sciences ® , a leading ... of precision medicine, today announced that St. Jude Medical ... Alliance™ (POA) as its 17 th member. Through ... Crosson Cancer Institute will help develop standards of care ... profiling, making cancer treatment more precise and effective. ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... --  Provista, a proven leader in the supply ... power, today announced a new resource area on Provistaco.com ... is the online home for case studies, articles on ... releases, slideshows and events. ... at their fingertips, viewers can also watch short videos ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... -- Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO ) ... , and named its founder as Diplomat,s chief information ... Tennessee , will operate under Diplomat subsidiary Envoy ... for health care partners to include IT outsourcing, consulting, ... "In an interoperable world, technology delivers comprehensive insight and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: