Scientists in Israel have made a breakthrough in their attempts to find a potential cure for type 1 diabetes. They have identified a kind of signal that helps to activate regeneration or a rise in the number of pancreatic beta cells, which are responsible for the production of insulin in the body.
The study is the first to show that high levels of glucose can trigger the beginning of regeneration in pancreatic beta cellsbeta cells, which are attacked by the immune systems of people who suffer from type 1 diabetes. When such cells are destroyed, the patient cannot produce sufficient insulin, so that the body cannot maintain proper levels of blood glucose.
The research showed that diabetic mice with high blood glucose levels had regenerated a greater number of beta cells than in the mice without diabetes, suggesting that glucose could play a crucial role in the regeneration of beta cells. In addition, the team revealed that glucokinase, which is an enzyme that senses the presence of glucose, is a key compound in the activation of the beta cell regeneration process.
It is hoped the work will lead to treatments that stop the immune system from destroying the beta cells in the first place, a potential cure for type 1 diabetes.
Yuval Dor, who led the study, which was funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), commented “Our work shows that as the glucose level is increased in the blood, it tells the beta cells to regenerate. It’s not blood glucose per se that is the signal, but the glucose-sensing capacity of the beta cell that’s the key for regeneration.”

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