Journal of Undergraduate Research


CEBP, B-cell mass, diabetes, global health concerns


Life Sciences


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science


Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are major global health concerns. Diabetes is characterized by impaired management of glucose in the bloodstream, which is due to decreased pancreatic functional β-cell mass. Functional β-cell mass is determined from the insulin secretion rate and the number of β-cells, which is determined from cellular proliferation and death rates. Increasing functional β-cell mass could cure diabetes either by enhancing pancreatic islets prior to transplantation, or by strengthening endogenous cells. Although β-cells stop proliferating around adolescence, β-cell proliferation resumes during conditions such as pregnancy and obesity (1), demonstrating that the molecular pathways necessary for replication remain intact. The transcription factor Nkx6.1 increases functional β-cell mass by increasing glucose stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS), proliferation, and cell survival (2). Our group has demonstrated that c-Fos, another transcription factor, is a key downstream target of Nkx6.1 (3). In this study, we show that the transcription factor CEBP/α is a key intermediary between Nkx6.1 and c-Fos. We further show that CEBP/α increases functional β-cell mass in the same way as Nkx6.1.

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