Lg Cwd
icon-nav-help
Need Help

Submit your question to our team of health care professionals.

icon-nav-current-questions
Current Question

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

icon-conf-speakers-at-a-glance
Meet the Team

Learn more about our world-renowned team.

icon-nav-archives
DTeam Archives

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

icon-question-mark
October 24, 2002

Other

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?

Answer:

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.

JTL