Drivers of pancreatic islet composition.


Sadie Allen

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2017

JAX Location

In: Student Reports, Summer 2017, Jackson Laboratory


Type II diabetes is a metabolic disorder that inhibits the body’s ability to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Diabetes leads to many serious health concerns. Islets play a vital role in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, chiefly through their production of insulin, a hormone that allows cells to metabolize glucose. Since they are so important in maintaining glucose homeostasis, an understanding of islet cells is essential to making progress in type II diabetes research and treatment. Beta cells have been extensively studied due to their important role producing insulin, but relatively little is known about the alpha and delta cells, or the factors that control the proportions of each of these cell types in the islet. In this project, I sought to identify drivers of islet cell composition using the R/qt12 package. My research identified a model of interaction in which body weight down regulates alpha eigengene expression, which in turn downregulates food intake. It also elucidated many new directions that could be taken in the study of islet cell composition, and by extension diabetes.

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