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Encyclopedia > Beta cell

Beta cells are a type of cell in the pancreas in areas called the islets of Langerhans. Beta cells make and release insulin, a hormone that controls the level of glucose in the blood. Cells in culture, stained for keratin (red) and DNA (green). ... The pancreas is an organ in the digestive system that serves two major functions: exocrine - producing pancreatic juice containing digestive enzymes. ... The endocrine (i. ... It has been suggested that Oral insulin be merged into this article or section. ... A hormone (from Greek horman - to set in motion) is a chemical messenger from one cell (or group of cells) to another. ... Glucose (Glc), a monosaccharide (or simple sugar), is one of the most important carbohydrates in biology. ...

Beta cell is usually spelled beta-cell or even more common β-cell.

There is a baseline level of insulin maintained by the pancreas, but it can respond quickly to spikes in blood glucose by releasing stored insulin while simultaneously producing more. The response time is fairly quick, taking approximately 10 minutes.

Destruction or dysfunction of beta cells is the cause of diabetes mellitus type 1. Diabetes mellitus type 2 has nothing to do with the beta cells, but with how the body had become resistant to insulin. Diabetes mellitus type 1 is a form of diabetes mellitus. ... See diabetes mellitus for further general information on diabetes. ...

Apart from insulin, beta cells release C-peptide, a byproduct of insulin production, into the bloodstream in equimolar quantities. Measuring the levels of C-peptide can give a practitioner an idea of the viable beta cell mass.

β-cells also produce amylin, also known as IAPP, islet amyloid polypeptide, a protein with unknown function. Amylin or Islet Amyloid Polypeptide (IAPP) is a 37-residue peptide hormone secreted by pancreatic β-cells at the same time as insulin (in a roughly 100:1 ratio). ...

A rare tumor (usually benign) derived from beta cells is called insulinoma. It results in recurrent and prolonged attacks of hypoglycemia. Benign can refer to any medical condition which, untreated or with symptomatic therapy, will not become life-threatening. ... An insulinoma is a tumour of the pancreas derived from the beta cells which while retaining the ability to synthesize and secrete insulin is autonomous of the normal feedback mechanisms. ... Hypoglycemia (hypoglycæmia in the UK) is a medical term referring to a pathologic state produced by a lower than normal amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. ...


Much research is being done in the field of beta-cell physiology and pathology. One major research topic is its effects on diabetes. Many researchers are trying to find ways to use these beta-cells to help control or prevent diabetes. A major topic is the replication of adult beta-cells and the application of these to diabetes. A leading research center in the field is at the University of Pensylvania in the Diabetes and Endocrinolgy Research Center. A link is provided below.
UPENN Beta Cell Physiology and Pathology

See also

Endocrine system - Pancreas - edit
Islets of Langerhansalpha cell | beta cell | delta cell | PP cell

  Results from FactBites:
NationMaster - Encyclopedia: Beta cell (797 words)
Beta cells are a type of cell in the pancreas in areas called the islets of Langerhans.
Alpha cells are endocrine cells in the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas.
Beta Cell Development A goal of this RFA is to attract expertise in developmental genetics, embryology, stem cell biology, and diabetes and to stimulate collaborative interdisciplinary approaches to the study of beta cell development.
NIDDK: Imaging the Pancreatic Beta Cell - April 24-25, 2006 (185 words)
The purpose of the Imaging the Pancreatic Beta Cell in Health and Disease, Third Workshop on April 24-25, 2006, at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, 480 L’Enfant Plaza, Washington, DC 20024, is to explore progress in the field of imaging or otherwise visualizing the pancreatic islet cell mass to assess its funcitionality in health and disease.
The workshop will showcase studies aimed at visualizing the pancreatic islet and/or beta cell in vivo, so as to elucidate the natural history of islet destruction underlying diabetes pathogenesis and to monitor survival during disease therapy.
Identifying beta cell surface targets and ligands for imaging.
  More results at FactBites »



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