Diabetes & Insulin
By: Brandy Baggerly
Basic info on Diabetes
Insulin is a hormone released by pancreatic beta cells in response to elevated levels of nutrients in the blood. Insulin triggers the uptake of glucose, fatty acids and amino acids into the liver, adipose tissue and muscles and promotes the storage of these nutrients in the form of glycogen, lipids and proteins. Failure to uptake and store nutrients results in diabetes.
Type-1 diabetes is characterized by the inability to synthesize insulin, whereas in type-2 diabetes is when the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin because of defects in the insulin signaling pathway.
Cell signaling pathway involved
Correct mechanism of diabetes
Current direction of diabetes research
Research toward a cure is focused on transplantation of the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, the islet cells or parts of the pancreas. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system turns on itself and destroys these islet cells. As a result, the body doesn't produce the insulin required to escort glucose from the food we eat to where it is needed. Research is now focusing on ways to understand this immune attack to find safe ways to block it. There are many ongoing studies using knowledge of immunology to try to intervene and prevent type 1 diabetes. Diabetes investigators are working on understanding how islet cells malfunction in type 2 diabetes. Some questions being researched includes "What is the genetic basis for this? Why can islets in some people continue to compensate by making more and more insulin for many years without getting diabetes, whereas others can’t keep up with the increased demand?".