Researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine have found something groundbreaking that could change how we treat diabetes. They learned that not all beta cells in the pancreas are the same.
These cells are super important because they make the insulin that helps control our blood sugar. But it turns out, a certain type of beta cell is really good at this job—and losing it could be linked to diabetes.
The Superstar Cells and How They Were Found
Dr. James Lo and his team identified four different kinds of beta cells. One type, called “cluster 1,” is especially good at making insulin and breaking down sugar.
To find this out, they used advanced tools to study individual cells from mice. These tools let them see which genes are active in each cell.
The cluster 1 cells stood out because they had high levels of a certain gene, called CD63. This gene helps the cell make lots of insulin.
The team checked and found the same thing in humans too. Cells with a lot of this CD63 gene made more insulin when they encountered sugar. But in mice that were obese or had diabetes, these superstar cells were fewer in number.
What This Means for Treating Diabetes
When the researchers put these special cluster 1 cells back into diabetic mice, their blood sugar got better.
If they took the cells away, the blood sugar levels shot up again. This means that these cells could be the key to better treatments for diabetes.
The study suggests that if you need to transplant beta cells into someone with diabetes, picking cells with high CD63 levels could work better.
Maybe you would even need fewer cells overall if you pick these high-performing ones.
What Comes Next?
The researchers are now planning to figure out why these special cells seem to disappear in mice with diabetes. If they can keep these cells from going away, that might be a new way to treat or even prevent diabetes.
They’re also curious to see how current diabetes medicines affect these different types of cells. This could help make existing treatments even better.
For those interested in diabetes and health, other studies have shown that eating whole grains can help control blood sugar.
Blueberries might help people with metabolic issues, and vitamin D could improve blood pressure in people with diabetes.
This discovery about special beta cells could be a game-changer. It opens up new paths for treatment and gives hope that we might be able to manage or even prevent diabetes more effectively in the future.
For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about 5 dangerous signs you have diabetes-related eye disease, and results showing why pomegranate is super fruit for people with diabetes.
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