chapter  11
30 Pages

Toxic Effects o f Cyproheptadine and Its Analogs in Insulin-Producing Cells

ByLawrence J. Fischer

A small group of synthetic chemicals having diverse chemical structures are known to have selective actions that disrupt the functions of the insulin-produc­ ing P-cells of the endocrine pancreas. Exposure to these chemicals can lead to a temporary or permanent diabetic state characterized by a loss of glycemic con­ trol. The involvement of environmental factors, including chemical exposures, in the etiology of human diabetes has been considered for many years. A genetic predisposition for the disease is well accepted, but the triggers for the disease, which may be diverse in nature, remain elusive. It is reasonable to investigate chemicals for their ability to produce deleterious effects in the (3-cells of the islets of Langerhans because human exposure to certain chemicals has yielded diabet­ ic conditions characterized by hypoinsulinemia (1).