An Investigation of Small Worldness in Pancreatic Islets
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Type of Work18 pages
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High Performance Computing Facility (HPCF)
regulation of glucose
Single Slow Channel Model
calcium and electrical dynamics during insulin secretion of a single beta cell
synchronization of insulin secretion between pancreatic beta cells.
Diabetes occurs when the body’s blood sugar levels are in a state of sustained elevation. The pancreatic beta cells, organized in the islets of Langerhans, secrete a hormone called insulin that is responsible for maintaining blood glucose at appropriate levels. Oscillations in insulin levels, which are thought to require synchronization in insulin secretion, are necessary for proper regulation of glucose. A loss of this periodic behavior has been observed in type 2 diabetic patients. We used the Single Slow Channel Model to compute the calcium and electrical dynamics during insulin secretion of a single beta cell. To replicate an islet, we coupled the cell cluster according to a hexagonal-close-packed lattice. The existence of small worldness in the islet and its effect on islet performance was investigated by using methods from graph theory. To quantify the performance, we sampled and chose a synchronization index from previously used indexes that reflects to what degree the calcium oscillations are in phase. The effect small worldness has on synchronization is indicative of the existence of hub cells, which have a larger influence on the rhythm of the islet. By destroying hub cells, we noticed that the synchronization of the islet decreased, which affects the overall performance of the islet. Understanding the role of hub cells will give us further insight on synchronization of insulin secretion between pancreatic beta cells.