Mathematical modelling and theoretical investigations of pancreatic beta-cells, which are responsible for producing and secreting insulin. Pancreatic beta-cells belong to a class of cells that exhibit electrical activity like nerve cells and cells in muscle tissue. The dynamical behaviour results from an action potential across the cell membrane created by ion currents passing into and out of the cell. In the case of beta-cells the current flow is dominated by Ca- and K-ions, and both flows depend on the glucose concentration. Therefore the activity of the beta-cells is correlated to the production of insulin, which is a hormone essential for regulating the level of glucose in the blood. In the pancreas, beta-cells form islets of coupled cells, suggesting a study of cooperative behaviour in a spatially extended system that mimics the islets. Since dynamic pattern formation has been observed in spatially extended excitable media consisting of nervous tissue and heart muscle, we expect similar behaviour in the beta-cell islets.
|Period||01/01/00 → 31/12/02|