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The pancreatic β cell and type 1 diabetes: innocent bystander or active participant?

Authors
Publisher
Elsevier Ltd
Volume
24
Issue
7
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.tem.2013.03.005
Keywords
  • T1Dm
  • Islet
  • Gwas
  • Insulin
Disciplines
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Medicine

Abstract

Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is a chronic disease resulting from destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic β cells. Genetic and environmental factors contribute to T1DM onset. Use of high-throughput DNA sequencing has allowed geneticists to perform genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify novel gene loci associated with T1DM. Interestingly, >50% of these genes encode products that are expressed in β cells. These studies, coupled with emerging molecular evidence that β cells are impaired by gain-of-function or loss-of-function of these loci, suggest an active role for the β cell in eliciting its own demise. Although immune dysregulation plays a vital role in T1DM pathogenesis, understanding the mechanisms contributing to β cell failure may lead to new strategies to preserve or improve β cell function in patients with T1DM.

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