Metabolic Disease

An islet cell reaches out

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Science  06 Sep 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6457, pp. 996-997
DOI: 10.1126/science.365.6457.996-c

Blood glucose levels in mammals are controlled by the coordinated activity of several distinct hormone-secreting cells within pancreatic islets. These include beta cells, which release insulin; alpha cells, which release glucagon; and delta cells, which release somatostatin. Delta cells are integral because their release of somatostatin suppresses hormone secretion by the other cell types. At the islet level, how delta cells accomplish this has been unclear, as they are relatively rare. In a study of mice, Arrojo e Drigo et al. find the answer lies in the characteristic cytoplasmic projections of the delta cells called filipodia. These projections contain secretory machinery, and their dynamic nature allows delta cells to contact distant beta and alpha cells and control their activity.

Nat. Commun. 10, 3700 (2019).

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