A paperfrom Doug Melton’s group published in Cell (153, 4, 747-758) this month made a fascinating new discovery. Pancreatic B cells are responsible for the production of insulin in the body. Thus, regulating the proliferation of these cells is of great interest. The researchers used a mouse model of diabetes and using an antagonist blocked insulin receptors that surprisingly led to a higher proliferation of these cells. To determine what proteins were responsible for the proliferation, a microarray study was performed in which Betatrophin was found as a potential new hormone regulator. Expression of Betatrophin in mouse liver significantly increased B cell replication rates (red stained cells on the bottom row of the figure) causing higher levels of insulin (green bottom row) and improved glucose tolerance compared to control mice (top row). The study helps provide new methods for treatment of diabetes in the future and highlights the importance of basic research! It’s also Fancy!
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