A new study by researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center sheds light on the key mechanisms by which new pancreatic beta cells normally form in response to insulin resistance. These findings may some day help researchers devise ways of staving off full-blown diabetes.
Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body needs increasing amounts of insulin to function properly, including keeping blood glucose levels in the normal range. It is a major contributor to type 2 diabetes, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, which affect nearly one-quarter of the American population.
For years, the body compensates for insulin resistance in order to delay the onset of clinical type 2 diabetes: The pancreas secretes more insulin and, in fact, more insulin-producing beta cells form within the pancreas. This formation of new beta cells is the focus of intensive research: Which cells give rise to these new beta cells and how? (Some researchers, for example, theorize that the new cells are derived from immature ductal cells--the cells that line the ducts of the pancreas.) And what signals this replication of beta cells to occur?
Marjorie Dwyer | EurekAlert!
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