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'Protective shield' for beta-cells suggests new option to treat diabetes

05:07 EDT 21 Jun 2017 | Medical Xpress

The islets of Langerhans in the human pancreas produce and release insulin to regulate blood glucose levels. Insulin, which is specifically produced in b-cells, serves to prompt cells to take up glucose circulating in blood. Thus, insulin release lowers the level of glucose in blood. In diabetes, this cycle is disrupted by the premature death of b-cells. Working with an international team of researchers, Katarzyna Malenczyk from the Department of Molecular Neurosciences at MedUni Vienna's Center for Brain Research showed in the study published in the EMBO Journal today that the loss of a key protein, secretagogin, triggers the death of b-cells and, conversely, that these cells can be protected by increasing the amount of this protein in those suffering from diabetes.

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