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Beta cells made from alpha cells can make insulin

Researchers say that when they artificially induced Type 1 diabetes in mice in a recent study, alpha cells converted into insulin-producing beta cells, according to a recent article in the HealthDay Reporter. As Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body mistakenly identifies insulin-producing beta cells as foreign cells and destroys them. Once the cells are destroyed, people with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin injections in order to regulate the level of sugar in their blood. The study showed that once the beta cells were destroyed, alpha cells, which are also found in the pancreas, spontaneously converted to beta cells as long as the mice were given insulin therapy in order to stay alive. When enough alpha cells turned into beta cells, insulin therapy wasn’t needed anymore.

Published in Diabetes research
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