Sunday November 17, 2019

Researchers Engineer Pancreatic Beta Cells that can Enhance Production of Insulin for Diabetes

"It's a backwards analogy, but we are actually using light to turn on and off a biological switch," said Emmanuel Tzanakakis, Professor at Tufts University

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Researchers, Engineer, Pancreatic
The researchers found that transplanting the engineered pancreatic beta cells under the skin of diabetic mice led to improved tolerance and regulation of glucose, reduced hyperglycemia, and higher levels of plasma insulin. Pixabay

Researchers have found a way to engineer pancreatic beta cells that can enhance production of insulin in response to glucose levels when these cells are “switched on” by light.

The study, published in the journal ACS Synthetic Biology, shows that glucose levels can be controlled in a mouse model of diabetes without pharmacological intervention.

The researchers found that transplanting the engineered pancreatic beta cells under the skin of diabetic mice led to improved tolerance and regulation of glucose, reduced hyperglycemia, and higher levels of plasma insulin when subjected to illumination with blue light.

“It’s a backwards analogy, but we are actually using light to turn on and off a biological switch,” said Emmanuel Tzanakakis, Professor at Tufts University in the US and corresponding author of the study.

Researchers, Engineer, Pancreatic
The study, published in the journal ACS Synthetic Biology, shows that glucose levels can be controlled in a mouse model of diabetes without pharmacological intervention. Pixabay

“In this way, we can help in a diabetic context to better control and maintain appropriate levels of glucose without pharmacological intervention. The cells do the work of insulin production naturally and the regulatory circuits within them work the same.”

The blue light simply flips the switch from normal to boost mode. Such approaches utilising light-activitable proteins for modulating the function of cells are being explored in many biological systems and have fuelled efforts toward the development of a new genre of treatments.

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“There are several advantages to using light to control treatment,” said Fan Zhang, graduate student in Tzanakakis’ lab at Tufts and first author of the study. (IANS)

Next Story

Keto Diet May Help Combat the Flu Virus: Research

When mice were bred without the gene that codes for gamma delta T cells, the ketogenic diet provided no protection against the influenza virus

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Keto, Meals, Apartment
If you’re craving pancakes but you’re following a keto diet, almond flour pancakes are a perfect solution. Pixabay

A ketogenic diet, which includes meat, fish, poultry and non-starchy vegetables, may help combat the flu virus, suggests new research.

This diet regimen activates a subset of T cells in the lungs not previously associated with the immune system’s response to influenza, enhancing mucus production from airway cells that can effectively trap the virus, said the study published in the journal Science Immunology.

“This was a totally unexpected finding,” said co-senior author Akiko Iwasaki, Professor at Yale University in the US.

The researchers found that mice fed a ketogenic diet were better able to combat the flu virus than mice fed food high in carbohydrates.

CDC, Flu, Vaccine
The researchers found that mice fed a ketogenic diet were better able to combat the flu virus than mice fed food high in carbohydrates. Pixabay

Specifically, the researchers found that the ketogenic diet triggered the release of gamma delta T cells, immune system cells that produce mucus in the cell linings of the lung — while the high-carbohydrate diet did not.

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When mice were bred without the gene that codes for gamma delta T cells, the ketogenic diet provided no protection against the influenza virus.

“This study shows that the way the body burns fat to produce ketone bodies from the food we eat can fuel the immune system to fight flu infection,” said co-senior author Visha Deep Dixit, Professor at Yale University. (IANS)