Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 9th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Sweet Discovery
20 May 2013

Sweet Discovery

Estimated to affect over 170 million people worldwide, diabetes is a major modern-day health concern. Caused by failure to regulate blood sugar, this disease arises because of defects in the production of insulin, a hormone that acts to decrease the levels of glucose in the blood, or in the way other tissues respond to it. Researchers have recently identified a hormone, named betatrophin, which is secreted by liver and fat tissue, and stimulates duplication of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Raising the levels of betatrophin makes the pancreatic cells replicate faster, and having more of these cells means that more insulin is made. In the mouse pancreas pictured, the pink spots identify a protein characteristic of replication, thus revealing that some of the cells that produce insulin (stained green) are duplicating. Also found in humans, betatrophin could provide potential alternatives to insulin injections in the treatment of diabetes.

Written by Emmanuelle Briolat

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.