Seattle Mariners: Cust, Langerhans power Mariners past Rockies
Cust, Langerhans power Mariners past Rockies
Fister pitched four solid innings, Ryan Langerhans delivered a bases-loaded triple and the Seattle Mariners ended their stay in Arizona with a 7-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday.
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Spring Training 2011 Question Of The Day: Seattle Mariners
The Seattle Mariners are loaded with talent … Unfortunately, much of that talent hasn’t been seen in recent seasons, and the M’s chances of a respectable 2011 probably hinge on that lost talent showing up again. Last year was supposed to be a good year for the Seattle Mariners . This year, not so much. Oddly, some of the same players who were supposed to make 2010 a good year (but didn’t) are …
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MARINERS NOTEBOOK: Jack Wilson to play second base
PEORIA, Ariz. – The Seattle Mariners’ opening-day shortstop-second base tandem is more like a shortstop alongside a shortstop at heart.
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Common blood-pressure drug cures diabetes in mice - human trials begin in 2015

A drug that’s already been on the market for 30 years to treat high blood pressure and chest pain has been found to completely cure diabetes in mice, and researchers have now been approved to start human clinical trials early next year.

A new study by a team from the University of Alabama (UAB) in the US has revealed that the drug verapamil, which is commonly used to treat high blood pressure, chest pain, and irregular heartbeat, could be the key to curing both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in humans.

A few years ago, the team discovered that the progression of diabetes was linked to a pancreatic protein known as TXNIP. They found that diabetes initially develops when high blood pressure causes the pancreas to produce too much TXNIP, which sits inside a pancreatic cell known as the beta cell. Beta cells are found in regions of the pancreas called the islets of Langerhan, and are responsible for producing the insulin the body needs to regulate blood sugar levels. 

While scientists have known for many years that a decrease in beta cells can cause type 1 and 2 diabetes, they couldn’t figure out what was killing them off. The UAB team was finally able to pinpoint the cause - when too much TXNIP is being produced in the pancreas, it actively kills off the beta cells. This means the body can’t produce enough insulin, which leads to the progression of diabetes.  

Now, the UAB team has discovered that the drug verapamil actually lowers the levels of TXNIP inside pancreatic beta cells - so much so, that when administered to diabetic mouse models, the drug completely eradicated the disease.

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This transmission electron micrograph shows a Langerhans cell (purple) exiting an isolated epithelium to disseminate the HIV-1 infection. A long cytoplasmic extension of the Langerhans cell remains anchored between basal keratinocytes and contains a large vacuole with one HIV-1BaL virion (red) inside. Epithelial sheets were inoculated with the virus by centrifugation (i.e., spinoculation) for 2 hours and then fixed in Karnovsky’s fixative for electron microscopy.

Diabetes in a Dish
With NIH grant, UC San Diego researchers hope to build bits of miniature pancreas

Although type 1 diabetes can be controlled with insulin injections and lifestyle modifications, major advances in treating the disease have not been made in more than two decades and there remain fundamental gaps in what is understood about its causes and how to halt its progression.

With a 5-year, $4-million grant from the National Institutes of Health, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and bioengineers at UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, with colleagues at UC Irvine and Washington University in St. Louis hope to change this.

The team’s goal is to bioengineer a miniature pancreas in a dish, not the whole pancreas but the organ’s irregularly shaped patches – called Islets of Langerhans – that regulate the body’s blood sugar levels.

“The bottleneck to new cures for type 1 diabetes is that we don’t have a way to study human beta cells outside of the human body,” said Maike Sander, MD, professor in  the departments of Pediatrics and Cellular and Molecular Medicine and director of the Pediatric Diabetes Research Center at UC San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. “If we are successful, we will for the first time be able to study the events that trigger beta cell destruction.”

Beta cells in islets secrete the hormone insulin. In patients with type 1 diabetes, the beta cells are destroyed and the body loses its ability to regulate blood sugar levels. Researchers, however, are unsure of the mechanism by which beta cells are lost. Some researchers believe that the disease may be triggered by beta cell apoptosis (self-destruction); others believe that the body’s immune system initiates attacks on these cells.

To actually bioengineer the pancreas’ endocrine system, researchers plan to induce human stem cells to develop into beta cells and alpha cells, as well as other cells in the islet that produce hormones important for controlling blood sugar levels. These cells will then be co-mingled with cells that make blood vessels and the cellular mass will be placed within a collagen matrix mimicking the pancreas. The matrix was developed by Karen Christman, PhD, associate professor of bioengineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering.

“Our previous work with heart disease has shown that organ-specific matrices help to create more mature heart cells in a dish,” Christman said. “I am really excited to apply the technology to diabetes research.”

If the pancreatic islets can be successfully bioengineered, researchers could conduct mechanistic studies of beta cell maturation, replication, reprogramming, failure and survival. They say new drug therapies could be tested in the 3D culture. It would also be possible to compare beta cells from people with and without the disease to better understand the disease’s genetic component. Such work might eventually lead to treatments for protecting or replacing beta cells in patients.

Paul Langerhans

German biologist and physician known mostly for his discovery of the islets of Langerhans on the pancreas in 1869, which are the cells that produce insulin (insulin is what allows you to eat sugars). He also discovered or explained the purpose of some type of skin cell that are now called Langerhans cell, but I couldn’t tell you what they do. He lived a fairly uneventful life after that and died at the young age of 40, five days from his 41st birthday.

I must say, Paul Langerhans certainly did not get the memo that scientists back then were supposed to be creepy looking. He is fine. I don’t even know how to describe it. He is an attractive lad.

Fish Evolved in Under 50 Years in Response to Human Impact

The road that connects also divides. This dichotomy – half-century-old roads connecting portions of Bahamian islands while fragmenting the tidal waters below – leads to rapid and interesting changes in the fish living in those fragmented sections, according to a new study from North Carolina State Univ.

NC State Ph.D. student Justa Heinen-Kay and assistant professor of biological sciences R. Brian Langerhans show, in a paper published in the journal Evolutionary Applications, that the male genitalia of three different species of Bahamian mosquitofish (Gambusia) living in fragmented waters differ markedly from the genitalia of fish living in unfragmented waters.

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September is histiocytosis awareness month and I gotta rep it! Four years ago I, like most people, had never heard of it until my niece was born with spots all over her body. After spending the first week of her life in a childrens hospital she was diagnosed with Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH), it occurs when the body accumulates too many immature Langerhans cells, which are a type of white blood cell that normally help the body fight infection. Too many Langerhans cells are produced and build up in certain parts of the body where they can form tumors or damage organs. It’s officially considered a cancer now but it is incredibly underdiagnosed. Most don’t know they have it until it’s too late. Most doctors have never even heard of it. Thankfully my niece is okay but it is something that will always be inside of her and could cause a tumor at any time. Look it up, become aware and tell someone. It might save a life.