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Aug 27, 2020

Blocking nerve signals to the pancreas halts type 1 diabetes onset in mice

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Your pancreas is a little sweet potato-shaped organ that sits snug behind your stomach. The pancreas is studded with islets, the cell clusters that house insulin-producing beta cells. In people with type 1 diabetes, the body’s own immune cells head for the islets and start attacking the beta cells. No one knows exactly what triggers this attack.

One clue may lie in the pattern of beta cell death. Many beta are killed off in big patches while other beta cells are mysteriously untouched. Something seems to be drawing to attack specific groups of while ignoring others.

In a new Science Advances study, researchers at La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) report that the nervous system may be driving this patchy cell die-off. Their new findings in a mouse model suggest that blocking nerve signals to the pancreas could stop patients from ever developing type 1 diabetes.

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