Diabetes & Islets of Langerhans

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The islets of Langerhans are found within your pancreas and are made up of cells that are able to produce hormones. Hormones are molecules that act as signals so that one organ of your body can be stimulated to produce a hormone that will travel around the blood stream in order to affect another organ of your body. For example β-cells are one type of cell found within the islets of Langerhans within your pancreas. Your β-cells can be stimulated to produce and release a hormone known as insulin into the blood stream. Insulin then acts on the cells of the body (such as muscle cells) to allow them to absorb sugar from your blood. This provides your body’s cells with energy so, for example, you muscles are able to move. If you have diabetes type I then the β-cells within the islets of Langerhans will have been destroyed by your body’s immune system or will have developed with faults that mean they are unable to produce insulin. This means that your body is completely unable to produce the signals to the cells that enable them to absorb sugar from the blood stream. This is why diabetics have higher than normal blood sugar levels.

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