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How do islet cells die during early stages of diabetes?


Type 1 diabetes (also called autoimmune diabetes or juvenile diabetes) is an autoimmune disease. For unknown reasons, at some point in childhood or adolescence, the body's own immune system starts attacking and destroying the insulin-producing islet cells in the pancreas. Once the majority of islet cells are destroyed, patients can no longer produce insulin to regulate their blood sugar and depend on strict diets and insulin injections. Scientists are trying to understand the early events during the development of the disease. John Corbett and colleagues (St. Louis University) have found that the early in the disease the islet cells die by a process called necrosis. Moreover, their study suggests some of the key factors involved. These are important results that will inform future studies toward the goal of understanding autoimmune diabetes well enough to prevent or stop its development.


Citation: Steer SA, Scarim AL, Chambers KT, Corbett JA (2005) Interleukin-1 stimulates b-cell necrosis and release of the immunological adjuvant HMGB1. PLoS Med 3(2): e17.

John A Corbett
Saint Louis University School of Medicine
1402 South Grand Boulevard
Saint Louis, MO USA 63104
+1-314-977-9205 (fax)

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