Pancreatic Beta Cell in Health and Disease
Quantifying β-Cells in Health and Disease: The Past, the Present, and the Need
Beta cells are the only cell in the body capable of significant production of insulin. They store insulin intracellularly, releasing it to the bloodstream in response to a variety of physiological stimuli including nutrients such as glucose and fatty acids, hormones and neurotransmitters.
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Under a Creative Commons license. Abstract Background Blood glucose levels are tightly controlled by the coordinated actions of hormone-producing endocrine cells that reside in pancreatic islets.
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The obstacles faced in studying samples of human pancreas from a specimen bank are further highlighted in the study by Saisho et al. When the indirect and direct findings are similar, it is comforting and informative. However, when they are not, reality may be a lot more difficult to discern. This discrepancy is also highlighted in the article by Saisho et al. What else have human studies in the present era taught us? First, the studies by Saisho et al.
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This knowledge has again relied in large part on work using animal tissues with some understanding derived from cultured human islets and autopsy samples. The result of increased activity in these pathways is apoptosis, a form of programmed cell death, which has been demonstrated in human pancreas samples. It has also now been shown in human islets that exposure for a prolonged period to high glucose or to islet amyloid polypeptide induces inflammation 17 , Interesting avenues of exploration in the future will be to see whether the two forms of diabetes have more than cell loss and cytokine production as common features.
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What then of the need? Clearly there are many—too many to detail here. We also need to answer the intriguing question of whether there is a genetic basis for this.
Definition of Pancreatic beta cell
However, to link genotype to a mass phenotype is going to take a Herculean effort in the number of samples on which we make estimates of endocrine cell type. The morphological assessments could be through sample banks, but for many reasons the genotypic ones may be more difficult on archived samples. Thus, one may have to look forward to the development of novel technology that will allow us to add measurements of endocrine cell numbers in living individuals to our armamentarium.
Regardless of the magnitude of the challenge, human nature is such that groups have not shirked at the challenge, and progress has been reported Thus, it is not unreasonable to expect the future will meet the need by continuing to build on the solid foundation laid by many in the past and the present. This work was supported by the U. Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. October Volume 41, Issue We only request your email address so that the person you are recommending the page to knows that you wanted them to see it, and that it is not junk mail.
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