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Betatrophin as a Beta Cell Stimulator?

Increased levels of betatrophin in mice show promise, but what about humans?…

Thirty-three human patients with T1DM and twenty-four healthy controls were recruited. Fasting blood samples were taken and betatrophin levels were analyzed by an ELISA. C-peptide levels were also taken, and in patients with undetectable C-peptide, an ultrasensitive C-peptide ELISA was used. To compare differences between the diabetic participants and the healthy controls, an unpaired two-tailed t test was used. Any correlations were found by using linear regression.

Results found that the betatrophin concentration was 300pg/ml in healthy subjects and nearly double in T1DM. The reason for the increase is not known. Increased levels of betatrophin do not have the same effect in humans as in the mice studied. While betatrophin may still be a beta cell stimulator, it does not seem to be enough to counteract the loss of C-peptide levels. A supraphysiological may be required to have some sort of effect, but it’s just not practical. There were also no changes in blood lipid levels in relation to betatrophin levels.

Practice Pearls:
  • Beta cells store and release insulin in the pancreas which also secretes C-peptide helping to prevent neuropathy and vascular deterioration of diabetes.
  • Betatrophin is an angiopoietin-like protein that can be over expressed in mice which leads to increased proliferation of beta cells.
  • In humans, there is an increased level of betatrophin, but it does not prevent the decrease in c-peptide associated with diabetes.

Espes, D. et al. Increased Circulating Levels of Betatrophin in Individuals with Long-Standing Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetologia. 2013;57: 50-53