Research shows a key cause of diabetes

Credit: Unsplash+

Researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine have made significant strides in understanding how different types of beta cells in the pancreas contribute to diabetes. These cells are crucial as they produce insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels.

Their findings, recently published in Nature Cell Biology, illuminate the varied roles of these cells and point towards new directions for diabetes treatment.

Dr. James Lo and his team have identified four distinct types of beta cells through their research.

Among these, the cluster 1 beta cells stood out due to their enhanced ability to produce insulin and more efficiently metabolize sugar compared to the others.

This particular group of cells appears to be integral in managing blood sugar levels effectively.

The team employed a cutting-edge technique known as single-cell transcriptomics, which analyzes the gene expression in individual cells.

This method allowed them to distinguish these four types of beta cells and revealed that cluster 1 beta cells exhibit high levels of genes necessary for sugar breakdown and insulin secretion.

Notably, these cells also showed a high expression of the CD63 gene, which could serve as a marker to identify them.

Further tests on both human and mouse beta cells demonstrated that cluster 1 cells respond more robustly to sugar by producing more insulin.

However, in conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes, the number of these high-performing beta cells was found to decrease, which could contribute to the onset and progression of diabetes.

The implications of these findings are profound. In experimental setups, transplanting these high CD63-producing beta cells into diabetic mice normalized their blood sugar levels.

Conversely, removing them caused blood sugar levels to spike, and transplanting lower CD63-producing cells did not yield the same beneficial effects.

This suggests that targeting and transplanting high-performing beta cells could enhance the effectiveness of beta cell transplants in diabetic patients.

Looking ahead, the research team plans to explore why these valuable cluster 1 beta cells diminish in diabetic conditions and how to prevent their loss.

Maintaining or enhancing the functionality of these cells could potentially lead to new ways to treat or even prevent type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, the team is interested in investigating how current diabetes medications, especially GLP-1 agonists, affect these different beta cell types. There’s a possibility that these treatments might enhance the function of the lower-performing beta cells.

This study not only sheds light on the complexity and variability of beta cells within the pancreas but also opens up new avenues for targeted diabetes treatments that could more precisely address the underlying issues of beta cell dysfunction.

As research continues, the hope is to develop strategies that could preserve or boost the function of these critical cells, offering new hope for millions affected by diabetes worldwide.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies that MIND diet may reduce risk of vision loss disease, and Vitamin D could benefit people with diabetic neuropathic pain.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies that Vitamin E could help reduce blood sugar and insulin resistance in diabetes, and results showing eating eggs in a healthy diet may reduce risks of diabetes, high blood pressure.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.