A team of researchers from Salk Institute have discovered a possible treatment for diabetes that has a beneficial effect on beta cells. These cells are found in the pancreas and are responsible with the production of insulin. Through the study, researchers noticed vitamin D can improve the function of the cells.
A poor function of beta cells is associated with diabetes
Beta cells have a series of properties that keep the organism healthy. They make insulin, keep it until the body needs it, and then release it into the blood. Insulin is responsible with controlling the levels of blood sugar. Once these cells no longer function properly, blood sugar levels can easily reach dangerous levels.
However, researchers found an unusual treatment for beta cells in the form of vitamin D. They administered it to mice and saw it had a beneficial effect on beta cells. Moreover, the experiments could be helpful for other diseases as well. For instance, researchers could learn more about how genes replicate, highlighting possible future treatments for cancer.
A vitamin D compound can really boost the function of the pancreas
For the study, researchers used stem cells to create some beta cell simulations. As soon as they injected them with vitamin D, they observed how one specific compound activated whenever it came into contact with it. This had a great effect on the function of beta cells. After finding the compound, they were able to use vitamin D and enhance the activity of the cells. They tested the hypothesis on mice and the experiment was successful.
This isn’t the first time when researchers found a link between vitamin D and diabetes. Previously, they discovered those people who have high levels of the vitamin in their blood were less likely to develop diabetes. However, it was hard to tell where the connection came from.
They had noticed before that using only vitamin D to protect beta cells was incredibly difficult. However, by combining it with the vitamin receptor in the cells, researchers could boost their function and herd diabetes off. The study in question was published in the journal Cell.
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