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From Smithsburg, Maryland, USA:

When the beta cells are attacked, are the alpha cells (the ones that produce the glucagon) in the pancreas also affected?


The autoimmune response that causes type 1 diabetes is selective for the beta cells that make insulin. Glucagon-producing Alpha cells are still present, but the nervous system that activates them can become involved and lead to decreased glucagon output in the setting of hypoglycemia. There are also some data to support a lack of suppression of glucagon output with insulin producing cells being destroyed. This allows glucagon to be high and antagonize insulin's role of lowering blood sugars.


Original posting 24 Oct 2002
Posted to Other


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:38
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