Protein Build-Up in Baboons' Pancreases Could Hold a Key to the Onset of Type 2 Diabetes

Baboon pancreases could tell us more about type 2’s onset.

Jul 28, 2009

A protein that builds up in the pancreases of baboons and leads to the suppression of insulin-producing beta cells, may provide one of the most significant indicators yet for predicting the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio studied pancreatic tissues from 150 baboons that had died from natural causes, including diabetes. They found that a build-up of a protein hormone called islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP) in the islets of Langerhans contributed to the simultaneous destruction of insulin-producing beta cells and an increase in the production of glucagon, which raises blood glucose levels.

They found that IAPP acted to create this situation even when blood glucose levels were barely above normal.

Ironically, IAPP is produced by the pancreas - a seeming puzzle where the organ responsible for controlling the body's ability to metabolize blood sugar produces a substance that thwarts that very goal.

As IAPP build-up progresses, the pancreas loses more an more beta cells to the protein's toxic effects. In the meantime, alpha cells, which produce glucagon, proliferate. Eventually, the imbalance leads to type 2.

The proliferation of glucagon, which scientists had noted before, was something that nobody had a good explanation for. Now, with IAPP as the apparent agent, they believe they may finally have the key to glucagon over-production.

In any case, the study may have produced a marker that can tell physicians and endocrinologists that a patient is running a high risk of developing diabetes. 

One advantage of the Texas study is that baboons, which are primates, are very close physiologically to humans. The monkeys can become obese and acquire type 2 diabetes and suffer from both conditions in much the same ways that humans do. In doing so, they offer researchers a fairly accurate indicator of how IAPP may affect people.

The Texas researchers published their findings in the July 20-24 online early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: Beta Cells, Blood Glucose, Blood Sugar, Community, Diabetes, Diabetes, Insulin, Pre-Diabetes, Research, Type 2 Issues

Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12th Annual Product Reference Guide
  • Insulin Syringe Chart
  • Insulin Pen Needles Chart
  • Fast-Acting Glucose
  • Sharps Disposal
  • Blood Glucose Meters Chart
  • Insulin Pumps Chart
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (1)

You May Also Be Interested In...


Posted by Anonymous on 4 August 2009


Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...

Username: Password:
©1991-2015 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.