Slight Elevations in Blood Glucose Lead to Key Changes in Beta-Cell Behavior

April 27, 2020 | Biotechnology

Reading time: 3-4 minutes

Lab.Equipment has curated a new article from the Biotechnology industry for you. This one is published by GEN – Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News:

Scientists at the Joslin Diabetes Center published new data “Beta cell identity changes with mild hyperglycemia: Implications for function, growth, and vulnerability” in Molecular Metabolism that shows how beta cells behave at slightly raised levels of blood glucose. The work provides major additional evidence of a “glucose toxicity” effect that helps to drive the development of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, according to the researchers.

“As diabetes develops, marked reductions of insulin secretion are associated with very modest elevations of glucose. We wondered if these glucose changes disrupt beta cell differentiation enough to account for the altered function,” write the investigators.

“Rats were subjected to 90% partial pancreatectomies and those with only mild glucose elevations 4 weeks or 10 weeks after surgery had major alterations of gene expression in their islets as determined by RNAseq.

“Changes associated with glucose toxicity demonstrated that many of the critical genes responsible for insulin secretion were downregulated while the expression of normally suppressed genes increased. Also, there were marked changes in genes associated with replication, aging, senescence, stress, inflammation, and increased expression of genes controlling both class I and II MHC antigens.

“These findings suggest that mild glucose elevations in the early stages of diabetes lead to phenotypic changes that adversely affect beta cell function, growth, and vulnerability.”

Studying beta cells in lab rats whose blood glucose levels were slightly elevated, Gordon Weir, MD, senior investigator and senior staff physician, and his team found changes in gene expression that affect not just how well the cells function but their ability to divide and grow, as well as their vulnerability to autoimmunity and inflammation... Read more at the GEN Blog.

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