Regulating the Beta Cell Mass as a Strategy for Type-2 Diabetes Treatment

Author(s): Imane Song, Christo Muller, Johan Louw, Luc Bouwens.

Journal Name: Current Drug Targets

Volume 16 , Issue 5 , 2015

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The incidence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) increases dramatically worldwide and has created an enormous health care burden. Obesity, dyslipidemia and insulin resistance are major risk factors for the development of T2D, but the major factor leading to the disease is failure of the insulin-producing beta cell mass to compensate for increasing insulin demands of the body. Progression of the disease further diminishes the beta cell mass as a result of lipotoxicity and glucotoxicity for which beta cells are particularly sensitive. Hence, treatment aiming to prevent beta cell loss or increase the number of beta cells could inhibit diabetes progression or lead to restoration of normal metabolism. Whereas current and new antidiabetic drugs are mainly targeting insulin secretion and action or glucose uptake, newer interventions must be found that prevent beta cell loss or increase beta cell number. The targets for this are beta cell proliferation, neogenesis and survival. This review examines major evidence from animal experiments suggesting that it is feasible to regulate the beta cell mass by bioactive compounds like growth factors, cytokines, hormones, phytochemicals and small molecules. Often the mode of action remains unclear due to inadequate methods to assess the effects of the compounds on the beta cell dynamics. Furthermore, a major challenge is to identify compounds with sufficient specificity in order to avoid unwanted effects on other cell types. Provided such safety issues can be solved, this may provide a curative approach for diabetes treatment.

Keywords: Beta cells, diabetes, insulin, islets, pancreas, regenerative medicine.

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Article Details

Year: 2015
Page: [516 - 524]
Pages: 9
DOI: 10.2174/1389450116666150204113928
Price: $58

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PDF: 54