Alpha cells ‘beat up’ Beta cells

Researchers say they have discovered a new way in which beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed, according to a recent article posted on dLife.

In people with diabetes, the destruction of beta cells leads to Type 1 diabetes.  Specifically, researchers in Texas and Italy say that alpha cells in the pancreas create a toxic imbalance that impacts the integrity of beta cells. Alpha cells produce glucagon, which raises blood sugar, while beta cells produce insulin, which lowers blood sugar levels.  The researchers say that glutamate, a signaling molecule in the brain and pancreas, is produced along with glucagon.

Too much glutamate creates a toxic situation for beta cells. Previously it was generally believed that alpha cells didn’t hurt beta cells. Beta cells can also be destroyed by too much glucose, the buildup of a protein called amyloid, and free fatty acids.

As reported by Diabetes Newshound.

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