Researchers discover mechanism of insulin production that can lead to better treatment for diabetes

Nov 12, 2009
This is Dr. Yuval Dor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a researcher on genetic aspects of insulin production. Credit: Hebrew University photo by Yoram Aschheim

How a specific gene within the pancreas affects secretion of insulin has been discovered by researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in collaboration with Japanese and American universities. Their work opens the way for a new understanding of possible paths to battle diabetes and diabetes-related health problems, which are on the rise all over the world.

Blood glucose levels are tightly regulated by secretion of from in the pancreas. Defective insulin secretion results in poorly regulated blood glucose levels and diabetes.

The work of the multi-national research team explored the role of LKB1, a gene involved in many cellular functions, whose role in the pancreas was not examined before. Specifically, they studied the implications of beta cell-specific loss of the LKB1 gene, using a mouse model system. They were able to show that eliminating this gene from beta cells causes the production and secretion of more insulin than normal beta cells, resulting in an enhanced response to increases in blood glucose levels.

The findings have potentially great implications for those suffering from diabetes (excessive blood sugar) due to insufficient production of insulin in the pancreas.

Since it was shown that LKB1 negatively regulates both insulin content and secretion, the way has now been opened to possible development of a novel therapy that would limit the presence of this gene in pancreas beta cells, thus enhancing insulin secretion.

These findings were published recently in the journal .

Source: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Explore further: Molecular gate that could keep cancer cells locked up

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New discovery a step towards better diabetes treatment

Jul 01, 2008

In today's issue of the prestigious journal Cell Metabolism Uppsala scientists are presenting new findings that shed light on the processes that determine the release of the blood sugar-lowering hormone insulin. The discov ...

Fat cells send message that aids insulin secretion

Nov 06, 2007

The body's fat cells help the pancreas do its job of secreting insulin, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. This previously unrecognized process ultimately could lead to new methods ...

Study pinpoints role of insulin on glucagon levels

Apr 07, 2009

April 7, 2009 - Researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center have shown for the first time that insulin plays a key role in suppressing levels of glucagon, a hormone involved in carbohydrate metabolism and regulating blood glucose ...

Recommended for you

Molecular gate that could keep cancer cells locked up

Jul 31, 2014

In a study published today in Genes & Development, Dr Christian Speck from the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre's DNA Replication group, in collaboration with Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), New York, ...

The 'memory' of starvation is in your genes

Jul 31, 2014

During the winter of 1944, the Nazis blocked food supplies to the western Netherlands, creating a period of widespread famine and devastation. The impact of starvation on expectant mothers produced one of the first known ...

Sugar mimics guide stem cells toward neural fate

Jul 30, 2014

Embryonic stem cells can develop into a multitude of cells types. Researchers would like to understand how to channel that development into the specific types of mature cells that make up the organs and other structures of ...

User comments : 0