A key aspect of how embryos create the cells which secrete insulin is revealed in a new study published tomorrow (18 May) in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The researchers hope that their findings will enable the development of new therapies for diabetes, a condition caused by insufficient levels of insulin.
The research reveals that glucose plays a key role in enabling healthy beta cells, which secrete insulin, to develop in the pancreas of an embryo. Glucose prompts a gene called Neurogenin3 to switch on another gene, known as NeuroD, which is crucial for the normal development of beta cells. If glucose levels are low this gene is not switched on.
Insulin is the principal hormone that regulates the uptake of glucose and if the beta cells are unable to produce sufficient insulin, this can cause diabetes.
The scientists, from Imperial College London and an INSERM Unit at Necker Hospital, Paris, hope that understanding how to switch on the gene that produces beta cells could eventually enable researchers to create these cells from stem cells. They could then transplant beta cells into patients with type 1 diabetes. In this type of diabetes the immune system attacks patients' beta cells and at the moment few patients with the condition are able to have beta cell transplants, because the cells have to be taken from deceased donors.
The researchers also hope that scientists will be able to develop drug therapies that enhance the action of glucose and hence encourage the growth of healthy beta cells.
Professor Guy Rutter, from the Division of Medicine at Imperial College and one of the authors of the paper, said: "We hope that by demonstrating that an 'extrinsic' factor like glucose can regulate the way in which insulin secreting cells develop we may eventually be able to reverse defects in the growth of these cells in patients with diabetes. Research like ours is opening up whole new sets of targets for drug treatments."
The researchers reached their conclusions after conducting research on tissues cultured from the primordial pancreas of very young rat embryos. Using an in vitro system, rather than looking at cells in vivo, enables researchers to gain a greater understanding of when and how different genes are being switched on.
Source: Imperial College London
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- A Dimuon Particle At 30 GeV In ALEPH ??
- President Obama, Why Humans On Mars Right Now Are Bad For Science
- A Racist On The Jews: Let The Donald Trump!
- DDoS war: How zombie fridges bit the internet in the a$$ today.
- Metaphors in Quantum Mechanics
- Journalists - Please Fact Check Your "Doomsday" News Stories -They Terrify Young Children And Vulnerable People
- IPhone Lab Detects Cancer, May Lead To Instant Diagnosis
- "You may find this interesting?http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/07/25/how-the-west-was-won/..."
- "what the fuck you was drinking? I am an Arab Muslim, but and I understand you dislike for the stupid..."
- "Thanks Dr. Durig, for this article. I am very much interested in the topic of Self-awareness and..."
- "The only people who are in for a shock are the people who believe in it, when nothing happens...."
- "Oh, okay, you need to understand a bit about how solar systems form. It starts with a condensing..."
- The Math of Hunting and Fishing: When to Work Together
- Placebo: Bubbles Of Nothing Are Still Not Something
- People Who Take Drugs May Be Likelier to Commit Suicide
- Improved 'Screen Time' Guidelines Could Make Parents & Kids Happier
- Dr. Jamie Wells Named One Of America's Top Pediatricians
- Why Did EPA Delay Its Glyphosate Safety Report?