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:6/26/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Quality metrics are proliferating in cancer care, and ... in the eye of the beholder, according to experts who offered insights and commentary ... of Managed Care. For the full issue, click here . , For the ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and certified personal trainer is ... a fitness app. The fitness app plans to fix the two major problems leading the ... one size fits all type program , They don’t eliminate all the reasons ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to a possible ... often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from a human ... but a necessary one in the event that lice have simply gotten out of control. ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (PRWEB) , ... June 25, ... ... to helping both athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented ... for the Oklahoma City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those ... deal with these feelings, many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol ... of Marne, Michigan, has released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Capricor ... ), a biotechnology company focused on the discovery, ... that patient enrollment in its ongoing randomized HOPE-Duchenne ... exceeded 50% of its 24-patient target. Capricor expects ... third quarter of 2016, and to report top ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... and BOGOTA, Colombia , June 23, 2016  Astellas today announced the establishment of Astellas Farma ... as the company,s second affiliate in Latin America . ... ... Astellas Farma Colombia ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... FRANKLIN, Tenn. , June 23, 2016 ... for automating, integrating and transforming the patient ... launch of several innovative new products and ... depth of its revenue cycle offerings. These ... establish more efficient workflows, remain compliant in ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: