Lg Cwd
Need Help

Submit your question to our team of health care professionals.

Current Question

See what's on the mind of the community right now.

Meet the Team

Learn more about our world-renowned team.

DTeam Archives

Review the entire archive according to the date it was posted.

October 24, 2002


Question 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.