Gut Cells Turned To Insulin Factories – New Type l Diabetes Treatment

Editor's Choice Academic Journal Main Category: Diabetes Article Date: 13 Mar 2012 - 12:00 PDT

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The study was carried out by Chutima Talchai, Ph.D, a New York Stem Cell Foundation-Druckenmiller Fellow, and Domenico Accili, M.D., professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that kills cells in the pancreas which produce insulin, resulting in high levels of glucose in the blood. As the pancreas is unable to replace these cells, individuals suffering with the disease must inject insulin into themselves in order to manage their blood sugar. Patients must also monitor their sugar levels numerous times a day, as blood glucose that is too low or too high can be fatal.

For scientists researching type 1 diabetes, one of the leading goals is to replace lost insulin-producing cells with new cells that release insulin into the bloodstream as needed. Even though researchers are able to generate these cells in the laboratory from embryonic stem cells, they are not suitable for transplant in patients as they do not release insulin appropriately in response to sugar levels, potentially resulting in a deadly condition called hypoglycemia.

In the intestine of mice, the researchers found that certain gastrointestinal progenitor cells are able to generate insulin-producing cells.

Usually, progenitor cells are responsible for generating a vast range of cells, such as gastric inhibitory peptide, cells that produce serotonin, as well as other hormones secreted into the GI tract and bloodstream.

The researchers discovered that when they switched off Foxo1 (a gene known to contribute in cell fate decisions), the progenitor cells also generated cells that produced insulin. In addition, the team found that although more cells were produced when Foxo1 was switched off early in development, they were also produced when the Foxo1 was switched off in adult mice.

Dr. Accili, explained:

Originally posted here:
Gut Cells Turned To Insulin Factories - New Type l Diabetes Treatment

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