Are Beta Cells "Sleeping" on the Job?
Type 2 diabetes occurs when, in the presence of insulin resistance, beta cells in the pancreas stop producing enough insulin to control blood glucose levels. The consensus has been that the beta cells die and their diminished numbers can't keep up with the body's demand for insulin. But new findings in diabetic mice suggest that rather than dying, beta cells revert to an immature form, a primordial beta cell of sorts that is fully alive, yet incapable of producing insulin as needed. The researchers say that this discovery suggests that new treatments should focus on coaxing these cells back into action instead of trying to get mature beta cells to multiply.
Source: Cell, Sept. 14, 2012