Beta Cells Need Key Protein To Replicate In The Midst Of Insulin Resistance
Posted Jan 31 2010 12:00am
Joslin Diabetes Center researchers have identified a protein, cyclin D2, that is critical to the replication of beta cells, in mice, that occurs in response to the development of insulin resistance. Their work is published in this month's issue of Diabetes.
In people who put on a lot of weight, or whose bodies start developing the inability to use insulin effectively that leads toward type 2 diabetes, the pancreas typically ramps up its supply of insulin-generating “beta” cells, at least partly by replication of the existing cells.
Cyclin D2 is a member of a small family of proteins that aid in the cell cycle, by which cells divide into two. Earlier studies had demonstrated that cyclin D2 is particularly important to the replication of beta cells but had not directly addressed its role in insulin resistance.
This work provides direct evidence in mice that cyclin D2 is needed for a successful response to a broad spectrum of insulin resistance, and points toward potential therapies that can be harnessed for preventing and curing type 2 diabetes.
However, cyclin D2 has not been identified in human beta cells .... yet.