Research ArticleApoptosis

Cannabinoids Induce Pancreatic β-Cell Death by Directly Inhibiting Insulin Receptor Activation

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Science Signaling  20 Mar 2012:
Vol. 5, Issue 216, pp. ra23
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2002519

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Death by Cannabinoids

Cannabinoid receptors are located in the brain and in the periphery, where they mediate effects on mood, appetite, metabolism, and pain perception. In pancreatic β cells, cannabinoid 1 receptors inhibit insulin action. Kim et al. showed that cannabinoid 1 receptors also prevent prosurvival signaling through the insulin receptor by attenuating its activation. Because loss of β cells through cell death contributes to the decline in pancreatic function seen in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, pharmacological blockade of the cannabinoid 1 receptor could be developed as a potential therapy for diabetes.

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