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Genetically engineered mice offer hope for isolating beta cells and treatment of type 2 diabetes

Bethesda, MD -- Diabetes mellitus (DM) affects at least 16 million Americans, ranks seventh as a cause of death in the United States, and costs the national economy over $100 billion yearly. About 95 percent of persons with DM have type 2.

Type 2 DM is characterized by insulin resistance in peripheral tissues as well as a defect in insulin secretion by beta cells. Insulin regulates carbohydrate metabolism by diminishing the rapid transport of glucose and amino acids from the circulation into muscle and other tissue cells, by promoting the storage of glucose in liver cells as glycogen, and by inhibiting gluconeogenesis. DM is often associated with other risk factors, including disorders of lipid metabolism, obesity, hypertension, and impairment of renal function.

In the last several decades Americans have increased their food consumption by an average of more than 200 calories, becoming a society with an alarming increase in obesity. The onset of type 2 diabetes has become an epidemic.

Type 2 diabetes cannot be cured, only controlled. Therefore, research into the insulin- producing beta cell (or -cell) of the pancreas, the predominant cell of the islets of Langerhans that secretes insulin, may offer a key into the development of diabetes mellitus, with anatomic and functional loss of these cells. One such effort entails the identification and characterization of embryonic or adult stem cells that give rise to the -cell could lead to cellular-based therapies for treating both type 1 and 2 diabetes.

Previous studies have shown that green fluorescent protein (GFP) from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria and its yellow and cyan derivatives could be utilized as reporter genes to label specific cell types including pancreatic -cells by expressing GFP under the control of a tissue-specific promoter. One advantage of these proteins is that they can be detected in living cells because they fluoresce brightly upon exposure to ultraviolet li
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Contact: Donna Krupa
djkrupa1@aol.com
703-527-7357
American Physiological Society
12-Feb-2003


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