Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery of new signal pathway important to diabetes research

04.06.2008
Scientists at Karolinska Institutet and Miami University have discovered that cells in the pancreas cooperate - signal - in a way hitherto unknown. The discovery can eventually be of significance to the treatment of diabetes.

The aim of the project was to find out how the healthy body regulates glucose concentrations in the blood.

Scientists have known for a long time that glucose is regulated with the help of hormones in the pancreas, which is to say that pancreatic beta cells produce insulin, which reduces sugar levels, and that alpha cells produce glucagon, which boosts them. This glucose balance must be kept within a very narrow interval, and we need both insulin and glucagon to remain in good health.

"A person with low blood sugar levels feels poorly and faint; a person with excessively high blood sugar levels gets diabetes," says Per-Olof Berggren, professor of experimental endocrinology at Karolinska Institutet and the leader of this study.

Much more is known about insulin secretion than glucagon secretion, and so Professor Berggren's team focused on the latter. They discovered that alpha cells also secreted glutamate, which facilitates glucagon release and makes it more efficient.

The scientists are working on the hypothesis that when glucose levels are raised in a healthy person, the beta cells become active and start to release insulin, which reduces sugar concentrations in the blood, upon which the alpha cells then start to secrete glucagon and glutamate. In this context, glutamate acts as a positive signal that tells the alpha cells that it is time to accelerate the production of glucagon to prevent glucose levels from falling too low.

"It's this signal pathway that is our discovery," says Professor Berggren. "This interaction between beta cells and alpha cells is crucial for normal blood sugar regulation."

The discovery also means that when the beta cells fail to produce insulin properly, as is the case in diabetes, the alpha cells' signal path is also blocked, which upsets the glucose balance even more. The team hope that their discovery of the signal pathway will eventually give new impetus to clinical diabetes research.

"Maybe we'll be able to achieve better blood sugar regulation in diabetes patients if we target more the glucagon/glutamate rather than just the insulin", says Professor Berggren.

Publication: 'Glutamate is a positive autocrine signal for glucagon release'. Authors: O Cabrera, MC Jaques-Silva, S Speier, S-N Yang, M Köler, A Fachado, E Vieira, JR Zierath, R Kibbey, DM Berman, NS Kenyon, C Ricordi, A Caicedo and P-O Berggren. Cell Metabolism, 4 June 2008.

For further information, please contact:

Professor Per-Olof Berggren,
Rolf Luft Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology Research
Tel: +46(0)8-517 757 31
Email: per-olof.berggren@ki.se
Press Officer Katarina Sternudd
Tel: +46(0)8-524 838 95, +46(0)70-224 3895
Email: katarina.sternudd@ki.se
Karolinska Institutet is one of the leading medical universities in Europe. Through research, education and information, Karolinska Institutet contributes to improving human health. Each year, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Katarina Sternudd | idw
Further information:
http://www.ki.se

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

nachricht What does congenital Zika syndrome look like?
24.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>