Pancreatic beta cells

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Pancreatic beta cells are a type of cell available in the pancreas which secrete insulin the other type of cell being the alpha cells which secrete glucagon. Both types of cells are located at the Islet of Langerhans. Insulin lowers the concentration of glucose in the blood by causing cells to become permeable to glucose and uptake more while Glucagon causes the break down of stored glycogen in the pancreas to glucose increasing glucose concentration in the blood. Together they regulate the glucose levels in the body. Damage to the beta cells could lead to less production of insulin causing type 1 diabetes.

Beta cells are one of the five main types of cells (Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Epsilon), that are presesnt in the pancreas, and more specifically, the Islets of Langerhans[1]

Function

The main function of the beta cells is the synthesis, storage and secretion of Insulin - a Hormone that plays a major role in the regulation of Blood glucose levels. In addition to this, they also secrete the peptide known as Amylin, another regulator of the glucose levels in the blood[2].

Beta Cells in Diabetes Type 1

In Type I diabetes the body's immune system destroys the beta cells in the islets of langerhans.  This prevents the cells from producing and releasing insulin into the bloodstream and thus there is no efficient regulation of blood glucose levels.  

References

  1. Types of Cells in the Pancreas [Internet]. Boundless. 2016 [cited 4 December 2016]. Available from: https://www.boundless.com/physiology/textbooks/boundless-anatomy-and-physiology-textbook/endocrine-system-16/the-pancreas-159/types-of-cells-in-the-pancreas-798-365/
  2. Beta Cells - What They Do, Role in Insulin [Internet]. Diabetes.co.uk. 2016 [cited 4 December 2016]. Available from: http://www.diabetes.co.uk/body/beta-cells.html
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