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Imaging insulin release in the pancreas

Project summary

In situ imaging of beta cell function in mice deleted for Type 2 diabetes-associated genes

RD Lawrence Fellow Dr David Hodson will use advanced imaging techniques to study the way that beta cells of the pancreas work together to produce insulin. The new insight this provides could potentially lead to new ways of increasing beta cell function in Type 2 diabetes.

Background to research

The release of insulin from the islets of the pancreas involves thousands of insulin-producing beta cells working together. Individual beta cells in the laboratory function differently and this makes it difficult for scientists to study insulin production and the ways it can go wrong in diabetes. Researchers are keen to find ways of studying beta cells in the intact pancreas where signalling from cell-to-cell is preserved.

Research aims

This study will use state-of-the-art imaging techniques to observe and influence the function of beta cells in the pancreases of mice with Type 2 diabetes. Dr Hodson will monitor cell signalling and the release of insulin as well as making attempts to genetically ‘remote control’ beta cells in order to boost insulin production.

Potential benefit to people with diabetes

By providing new insights into the way that beta cells work together to release insulin, the researchers hope that this study will lead to new ways of increasing beta cell function in order to improve glucose control and help people with Type 2 diabetes.

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