Mysterious Fetal Tissue Helps Grow Insulin Producing Beta Cells

September 7th, 2011

A somewhat mysterious soft tissue found in the fetus during early development in the womb plays a pivotal role in the formation of mature beta cells, the sole source of the body's insulin. This discovery, made by scientists at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Texas A&M University, may lead to new ways of addressing Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

As reported in the journal PLoS Biology, during the late stages of development in mice, this fetal tissue -- called the mesenchyme -- secretes chemicals. Those chemicals enable insulin-producing beta cells to mature and expand. Remove this mesenchyme tissue, the researchers found, and the mice do not grow their full complement of beta cells.

This work provides researchers with an immediate tool for research and diabetes drug discovery. By identifying the chemicals that this tissue secretes, scientists may be able to create new beta cells in the body or in the test tube - something currently beyond the reach of medical science that could potentially eliminate the need for insulin injections.

To read the full article on ScienceDaily, >CLICK HERE.<

Scientists Cure Diabetes in Rat's Using Animals Own Stem Cells

October 17th, 2011

diabetes cured in rats

From Diabeteshealth.com

Using stem cells that they extracted from the brains of diabetic lab rats, and turning them into insulin-producing pancreatic cells, Japanese scientists may be on the road to a virtual cure for diabetes that comes from people's own brains. Led by Tomoko Kuwabara of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba Science City, Japan, a team of scientists extracted neural tissue from the rats' olfactory bulbs or their hippocampuses. The former is the part of the brain is involved with smell while the former is involved with memory.

Because of both sites' location in the brain, extraction was easily done through the nose. The rats involved had either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The scientists then extracted stem cells from the tissue and applied a human protein to them, Wnt3a, which "switches on" insulin production.

After two weeks, the cells had multiplied to the point that the researchers could lay collagen sheets impregnated with them gently on top of the diabetic rats' pancreases. Seven days later, the concentration of insulin in the blood of all the rats, whether type 1 or type 2, matched that of non-diabetic rats. Blood glucose levels were normal. To read the entire story on diabeteshealth.com, >Click Here.<