Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a multifactorial disease, due to decreased glucose peripheral uptake, and increased hepatic glucose production, due to reduced both insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity. Multiple insulin secretory defects are present, including absence of pulsatility, loss of early phase of insulin secretion after glucose, decreased basal and stimulated plasma insulin concentrations, excess in prohormone secretion, and progressive decrease in insulin secretory capacity with time. beta-cell dysfunction is genetically determined and appears early in the course of the disease. The interplay between insulin secretory defect and insulin resistance is now better understood. In subjects with normal beta-cell function, increase in insulin is compensated by an increase in insulin secretion and plasma glucose levels remain normal. In subjects genetically predisposed to type 2 diabetes, failure of beta-cell to compensate leads to a progressive elevation in plasma glucose levels, then to overt diabetes. When permanent hyperglycaemia is present, progressive severe insulin secretory failure with time ensues, due to glucotoxicity and lipotoxicity, and oxidative stress. A marked reduction in beta-cell mass at post-mortem examination of pancreas of patients with type 2 diabetes has been reported, with an increase in beta-cell apoptosis non-compensated by neogenesis.