Battling diabetes: Study Reveals New Way to Restore Insulin Production

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With the American Diabetes Association forecasting that the number of people suffering from diabetes will double between the years 2000 and 2030, the need for solutions has never been greater. One new study might be be a game-changer.

In healthy people, beta cells release insulin to restrict the amount of glucose released by the liver. In people with hyperglycemia (high glucose) such as those with type 2 diabetes – the excess glucose suppresses the rhythm of insulin “pulses” given to the body.

Researchers at Florida State University, co-lead by Joseph McKenna, have identified a methodology that helps restart the rhythm that produces insulin in the bloodstream. The study hopes to find a way to reactivate the insulin clock that has been turned off by exposure to excess glucose.

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The theory was tested on non-diabetic lab mice that had their islets of Langerhans removed. The results were as anticipated. When a steady concentration of glucose was administered, the insulin clock was deactivated, as is the case with millions of overweight and obese people.

But, as expected, when the insulin was administered by pulses in a controlled and systematic method, the clock was reactivated. In the fight against diabetes, this is where the battle lies.  In healthy individuals, insulin is automatically released into the bloodstream. 

“This article demonstrates how microfluidics and mathematical modeling can be used together to gain new insights into the mechanisms for hormone secretion,” says study co-author Richard Bertram, of the Department of Mathematics and Programs in Neuroscience and Molecular Biophysics at FSU.

The findings, which are posted in PLOS Computational Biology, may be revolutionary, to say the least. The theory suggests that this supplemental pulse may be capable of both preventing and reversing the effects of Type2 diabetes.


You can read the full study here.

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