Week 9: Final Presentation Preparation
Riddle: What comes once in a minute, twice in a moment, but never in a thousand years?
So really awkward lol. I just realized that my blog didn’t publish so I’m doing it now!
Hi everyone! I hope ya’ll had a good week! Just some updates on the status of the project! I am nowhere near as done as I thought I would be at the beginning of October, but that’s ok! I’ve spent most of this past week annotating, putting together a presentation, and searching the literature. I have one mouse islet that is close to being ready for further processing and hopefully, that’ll happen next week. For this week’s blog, I’ll present some of the findings of my literature search.
We Don’t Know Anything About Anything
Researchers generally do know what Islets do. They secrete Insulin, Glucagon, Somatostatin, and a bunch of other proteins; however, the structure and mechanisms of which islets work remain elusive. There is no scientific consensus on the organization of Islets. Some papers cite a core and mantle structure where there is a core of beta cells with a mantle of other cell types around it. While it is a description, it doesn’t capture the nuances of islet structure that I’ve seen where it’s not that clear cut. Furthermore, some drawbacks to past papers include:
- The Size Of The Islets That Were Previously Studied Is Much Bigger Than The Islets That We’re Studying
- Mice Islets Were Generally The Islets Primarily Studied Due To The Difficulty Of Obtaining Human Islets
- and The Structural Organization Of These Islets Was Never Quantified Well.
Another aspect of islets that I read about was the involvement of pericytes in the vasculature around islets. Pericytes are cells that are associated with the blood vessels around islets and serve to constrict and dilate blood vessels. With this ability, blood flow can be regulated strictly around the islets. In patients with diabetes, it was reported that pericytes are reduced, either in size or number. Since the functionality of an islet is dependent heavily on its ability to regulate blood flow, the loss of pericytes could be a contributing factor to the worsening of diabetes.
The drawback to the study that was conducted was that pericytes were quantified with volumetric ratios. The area of pericytes present in a certain slice was divided by the area of the entire islet. While this gives some useful information, a lower area of pericytes per area of islet could mean that fewer pericytes are present or that the pericytes are shrinking. In either case, pericytes remain a woefully unstudied cell type that deserves more attention.
Thank you for reading my blog again next week will be my last blog so stay tuned!
Answer: The letter “M.”