type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the insulin-producing β-cells are no longer able to produce enough insulin to normalize blood glucose levels. This results from a decreased responsiveness of insulin target tissues to the hormone and therefore a loss of glucose removal from the blood by these target tissues. The etiology of type 2 diabetes is not entirely clear but obesity, genetic factors, age and environmental agents have all been shown to contribute. Often weight loss, exercise and careful eating can slow the development of type 2 diabetes; however, long-term β-cell stress often results in cell death, which may be mediated by the immune system. Loss of insulin-producing cells leads to a condition similar to type 1 diabetes and insulin must be administered. At this point, the only way to cure the disease is replacement of the cells that have died. Research done in the Lynn lab has the potential to contribute the understanding of how insulin producing cells are generated, knowledge that will be important for the generation of cell-based therapies for late-stage type 2 diabetes.