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Additional recommended knowledge
Beta cells make and release insulin, a hormone that controls the level of glucose in the blood. 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.
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.
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. The Larry L. Hillblom Islet Research Center at UCLA is a leading research center in the field, within the Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center.
A team science effort also exists, known as the Beta Cell Biology Consortium (BCBC). The BCBC is responsible for facilitating interdisciplinary approaches that will advance the understanding of pancreatic islet development and function. The long-term goal of the BCBC is to develop a cell-based therapy for insulin delivery.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Beta_cell". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|