Ion channels serve a critical role modulating calcium entry, which controls hormone and neurotransmitter secretion.
The focus of the Jacobson lab is on understanding how ion channels of pancreatic islet-cells and dorsal root ganglion (DRG) sensory neurons influence the pathogenesis of diabetes and pain. Ion channels control Ca2+ entry into islet-cells, which is required for hormone secretion that regulates blood glucose homeostasis. In DRG sensory neurons electrical excitability and Ca2+ influx regulates pain perception. Calcium influx into islets and DRG neurons becomes perturbed in patients with diabetes and chronic pain respectively. However, the mechanism(s) responsible for perturbed Ca2+ homeostasis in these cells have not been defined. Therefore, the goal of the Jacobson lab is to determine if ion channels that modulate islet hormone secretion and DRG neuron nociception can be utilized as therapeutic targets for treating diabetes and pain.