The islet beta-cell: fuel responsive and vulnerable

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Oct;19(8):285-91. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2008.07.006. Epub 2008 Sep 6.

Abstract

The pancreatic beta-cell senses blood nutrient levels and is modulated by neurohormonal signals so that it secretes insulin according to the need of the organism. Nutrient sensing involves marked metabolic activation, resulting in the production of coupling signals that promote insulin biosynthesis and secretion. The beta-cell's high capacity for nutrient sensing, however, necessitates reduced protection to nutrient toxicity. This potentially explains why in susceptible individuals, chronic fuel surfeit results in beta-cell failure and type 2 diabetes. Here we discuss recent insights into first, the biochemical basis of beta-cell signaling in response to glucose, amino acids and fatty acids, and second, beta-cell nutrient detoxification. We emphasize the emerging role of glycerolipid/fatty acid cycling in these processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Amino Acids / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology
  • Food* / adverse effects
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glucose / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / physiology*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways / drug effects
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Pancreatic Diseases / etiology*

Substances

  • Amino Acids
  • Fatty Acids
  • Glucose