Beta cell mass in diabetes: a realistic therapeutic target?

Diabetologia. 2008 May;51(5):703-13. doi: 10.1007/s00125-008-0936-9. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


Beta cell deficiency underlies both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and restoration or replacement of beta cell function is therefore the logical long-term solution to therapy. This review sets out to describe the defects in beta cell mass and function in both forms of diabetes, summarises current understanding of the underlying causes of beta cell death, and the methodological limitations of determining beta cell mass in vivo. Finally, the potential effects of current and future treatment regimens on beta cell mass and turnover are considered.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / pathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / immunology
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / pathology*
  • Regeneration


  • Hypoglycemic Agents