Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by elevation of glucose levels in the blood that develops in humans
as a result of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. Unbalanced glycemic control has been associated
with the development of progressive and debilitating complications that dramatically affect the quality of life and life expectancy
of people with diabetes. The purinergic system represents a widely diffused signaling pathway in mammalian
cells of different tissues where it plays critical roles in both physiological and pathological conditions. Herein we review
the increasing evidence supporting that the purinergic system plays an important role in the multiple facets of diabetes, including
its physiopathology and complications. We also discuss the potential relevance of the purinergic pathway for diagnosis
and treatment of diabetes.
Keywords: Beta cell, diabetes, extracellular ATP, inflammation, islets, islet immunity, metabolic syndrome, Purinergic receptors,
P2X, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes.
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