Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers find beta cell stress could trigger the development of type 1 diabetes

Study provides important clue in type 1 diabetes; could help scientists identify and validate potential drug targets to alleviate ER stress and preserve beta cell mass in T1D

In type 1 diabetes (T1D), pancreatic beta cells die from a misguided autoimmune attack, but how and why that happens is still unclear. Now, JDRF-funded scientists from the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that a specific type of cellular stress takes place in pancreatic beta cells before the onset of T1D, and that this stress response in the beta cell may in fact help ignite the autoimmune attack. These findings shed an entirely new light into the mystery behind how changes in the beta cell may play a role in the earliest stages of T1D, and adds a new perspective to our understanding how T1D progresses, and how to prevent and treat the disease.

In the study, published in the March 22 issue of the journal Diabetes, the researchers, led by Sarah Tersey, Ph.D., assistant research professor of pediatrics, and Raghavendra Mirmira, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine, show for the first time in a mouse model of T1D that beta cells become stressed early in the disease process, before the animal develops diabetes. In response to the stress, beta cells activate a cell death pathway leading to the loss of beta cell mass in the animal.

In all cells, there is a vital compartment known as the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) where secreted proteins, like insulin, are produced and processed before being released by the cell. Pancreatic beta cells are highly specialized for the production and secretion of insulin and therefore, the ER plays a critical role in their function, making them particularly sensitive to ER stress. The study by Tersey and colleagues show that an alteration of the beta cell ER stress response occurs early in the disease, and if the ER stress is not resolved properly, it can result in defects in insulin secretion, and ultimately death of the beta cell.

"The ER stress in the beta cell has been implicated in type 2 diabetes, but its role in triggering beta cell dysfunction in type 1 diabetes has not been clear until now, which is why these findings are exciting, " said Dr. Mirmira. "Although the paper does not directly address a potential role for ER stress in the development of human T1D, what we observed in the mice is consistent with clinical observations of type 1 diabetes in people where defects in insulin secretion precede overt diabetes."

"We need to look more closely at beta cells and their role in type 1 diabetes because they may be participating in their own demise," said Andrew Rakeman, Ph.D. Senior Scientist of Regeneration for JDRF. "This study shows that beta cell stress is occurring at the earliest stages of the disease process, raising the intriguing possibility that beta cell stress could be part of the trigger for the autoimmune process that leads to type 1 diabetes. This is exciting because it not only teaches us something about the early events in T1D progression, but suggests that drugs or therapeutic strategies that alleviate ER stress might be used to delay progress of the disease, either preventing insulin dependence or preserving beta cell function, improving glucose control and reducing the risk of complications."

About T1D

In T1D, a person's pancreas stops producing enough insulin to survive. People with T1D must currently monitor their blood sugar levels and administer insulin via shots or an insulin pump, multiple times every day. Even vigilant management does not ward against T1D complications such as heart attack, stroke, blindness, and amputation.

About JDRF

JDRF is the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Driven by passionate, grassroots volunteers connected to children, adolescents, and adults with this disease, JDRF is now the largest charitable supporter of T1D research. The goal of JDRF research is to improve the lives of all people affected by T1D by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treating, and preventing T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners who share this goal.

Since its founding in 1970, JDRF has awarded more than $1.6 billion to diabetes research. Past JDRF efforts have helped to significantly advance the care of people with this disease, and have expanded the critical scientific understanding of T1D. JDRF will not rest until T1D is fully conquered. More than 80 percent of JDRF's expenditures directly support research and research-related education.

Joana Casas | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Chimpanzees Shed Light on Origins of Human Walking
09.10.2015 | Stony Brook University

nachricht In “Cell”: Floppy but fast
09.10.2015 | Heidelberger Institut für Theoretische Studien gGmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Reliable in-line inspections of high-strength automotive body parts within seconds

Nondestructive material testing (NDT) is a fast and effective way to analyze the quality of a product during the manufacturing process. Because defective materials can lead to malfunctioning finished products, NDT is an essential quality assurance measure, especially in the manufacture of safety-critical components such as automotive B-pillars. NDT examines the quality without damaging the component or modifying the surface of the material. At this year's Blechexpo trade fair in Stuttgart, Fraunhofer IZFP will have an exhibit that demonstrates the nondestructive testing of high-strength automotive body parts using 3MA. The measurement results are available in a matter of seconds.

To minimize vehicle weight and fuel consumption while providing the highest level of crash safety, automotive bodies are reinforced with elements made from...

Im Focus: Kick-off for a new era of precision astronomy

The MICADO camera, a first light instrument for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), has entered a new phase in the project: by agreeing to a Memorandum of Understanding, the partners in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, and Italy, have all confirmed their participation. Following this milestone, the project's transition into its preliminary design phase was approved at a kick-off meeting held in Vienna. Two weeks earlier, on September 18, the consortium and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which is building the telescope, have signed the corresponding collaboration agreement.

As the first dedicated camera for the E-ELT, MICADO will equip the giant telescope with a capability for diffraction-limited imaging at near-infrared...

Im Focus: Locusts at the wheel: University of Graz investigates collision detector inspired by insect eyes

Self-driving cars will be on our streets in the foreseeable future. In Graz, research is currently dedicated to an innovative driver assistance system that takes over control if there is a danger of collision. It was nature that inspired Dr Manfred Hartbauer from the Institute of Zoology at the University of Graz: in dangerous traffic situations, migratory locusts react around ten times faster than humans. Working together with an interdisciplinary team, Hartbauer is investigating an affordable collision detector that is equipped with artificial locust eyes and can recognise potential crashes in time, during both day and night.

Inspired by insects

Im Focus: Physicists shrink particle accelerator

Prototype demonstrates feasibility of building terahertz accelerators

An interdisciplinary team of researchers has built the first prototype of a miniature particle accelerator that uses terahertz radiation instead of radio...

Im Focus: Simple detection of magnetic skyrmions

New physical effect: researchers discover a change of electrical resistance in magnetic whirls

At present, tiny magnetic whirls – so called skyrmions – are discussed as promising candidates for bits in future robust and compact data storage devices. At...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing healthcare and sustainably strengthening healthcare systems

01.10.2015 | Event News

Conference in Brussels: Tracking and Tracing the Smallest Marine Life Forms

30.09.2015 | Event News

World Alzheimer`s Day – Professor Willnow: Clearer Insights into the Development of the Disease

17.09.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Navigating the unknown

09.10.2015 | Information Technology

New Artificial Cells Mimic Nature’s Tiny Reactors

09.10.2015 | Materials Sciences

Chimpanzees Shed Light on Origins of Human Walking

09.10.2015 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>