Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: the basics

Welcome to your pancreas, the site of insulin and glucagon production and release.  Specifically, these hormones are produced by the islet cells of the pancreas.  The release of these hormones depict the endocrine functionality of the pancreas, however this is not the only job of the pancreas; the pancreas also consists of exocrine tissue which releases enzymes (i.e. amylase which helps with the breakdown of proteins) to aid in the digestive system.  With the complex nature of this organ, it is no surprise it is responsible for one of the most prevalent diseases in the United States, and even across the globe…diabetes mellitus.Diabetes mellitus involves deficient pancreatic islet cells/ improper response to insulin production.  There are two forms of diabetes mellitus which can effect people.  Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is commonly seen as the hereditary form, whereas type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is often seen as the diet-induced form of the disease.  While this has been supported by years of research, there is new insight and new research pursuits which are looking at the gastrointestinal microbiome as a key influence in the susceptibility an individual has to get T2DM.  Over the next three years, I will be working on a research project to narrow down/ categorize the microbes within the digestive tract to attempt to link a certain bacterial class to the susceptibility an individual has to T2DM.

Currently, I am working through a ton of existing literature to create a foundation of knowledge with which to work.  Specifically, I am considering existing research to develop a feasible method for my own research.  As of now, I am looking into using mice to compare the microbes of healthy individuals versus those with T2DM.  I am hoping to do this by marking the genes of the various microbes in the digestive tract and running it through a computer program to compare.  I will have to do this from a relativity scale to account for the individual differences in the mice’s microbiome.  I still have a long ways ahead of me, but I am hoping I am on the right track and I am very excited to see all that I can get done this coming year!

Stay tuned for more updates on my own research, more info on T2DM, article reviews, and more all featured under the Medicine & Science tab!


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