Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How does embryo's pancreas 'know' which cells are to produce insulin?

Date:
November 23, 2009
Source:
Lund University
Summary:
How does the developing pancreas in an embryo 'know' which cells are to produce insulin and which cells are to have other assignments? Researchers need to understand this if they want to be able to treat type-1 diabetes with stem cells developed into insulin-producing beta cells.

How does the developing pancreas in an embryo 'know' which cells are to produce insulin and which cells are to have other assignments? Researchers need to understand this if they want to be able to treat type-1 diabetes with stem cells developed into insulin-producing beta cells. At Lund University scientists have uncovered pioneering new knowledge, and are publishing it in the journal Cell.

Henrik Semb's research team has studied two fundamental scientific questions: One is how tubes are formed in organs where they fulfill vital functions (some examples are the fact that the kidneys filter urine in tubes, blood vessels transport blood in tubes, and the lungs transport air in tubes). The other is the question of how the differentiation of cells -- the development of immature cells into various mature cells -- is related to tube formation.

"Scientists have long known that both processes take place at the same time in an embryo, but we didn't know whether they are connected," says Henrik Semb.

According to the Lund researchers, they are. They can explain step by step how some cells in the developing pancreas form tiny cavities, and how these cavities join together and eventually create a system of tubes. They also explain how cells that end up in different parts of this tube system become exposed to different environments, making them develop in separate ways. Some end up producing insulin, while others produce enzymes that digest food in the intestines, and still others participate in the tube construction itself.

The Lund team has also found that a gene called Cdc42 is fundamental for these processes. This was demonstrated in so-called knock-out mice where this gene had been removed. Without Cdc42 no tubes are formed in the pancreas, and with no tubes the environment that dominates is the kind that is normally found around cells that produce enzymes. The Lund scientists show in their 11-page article how this leads to a pancreas that only generates enzyme-producing cells, at the expense of the important insulin-producing beta cells.

These findings provide fundamentally important new knowledge in basic science that may be applied in future medical treatments. Research on stem cell treatment of type-1 diabetes can now take several steps forward, with the new understanding of how immature cells develop into beta cells. The results will also help the insight into diseases where organ failure is due to cyst formation in tubes, such as in the kidneys and the liver.

Henrik Semb's research team has studied tube formation, cell differentiation and the role of Cdc42 in these processes for many years.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lund University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Lund University. "How does embryo's pancreas 'know' which cells are to produce insulin?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091113174802.htm>.
Lund University. (2009, November 23). How does embryo's pancreas 'know' which cells are to produce insulin?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091113174802.htm
Lund University. "How does embryo's pancreas 'know' which cells are to produce insulin?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091113174802.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins