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February 17, 2007

Research: Other Research

Question from New York, USA:

I am wondering, when an autoimmune attack takes place on the endocrine pancreas, are the alpha cells destroyed in addition to the beta cells? If so, does this make hypoglycemia a greater risk? What cells make amylin? Are these destroyed in the same attack that produces diabetes, or not? Or, is the amylin deficiency not explained yet?


The autoimmune attack is aimed at the islets, but mostly the beta cells. Most of the other cells are also attacked but not as vigorously in most studies. However, the communication from one cell to the others also seems to be damaged in this process and, thus, the other cells hormone production is altered, much like a damaged thermostat that can over- and under-react. High sugar levels may contribute to this over time as well as the initial autoimmune attack itself.


[Editor’s comment: For additional information on amylin, see The role of amylin in the physiology of glycemic control.; Amylin inhibits glucose-induced insulin secretion in a dose-dependent manner. Study in the perfused rat pancreas.; Amylin and insulin co-replacement therapy for insulin-dependent (type I) diabetes mellitus.; and Effects of amylin and the amylin agonist pramlintide on glucose metabolism.