Wnt signaling: relevance to beta-cell biology and diabetes

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Dec;19(10):349-55. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2008.08.004. Epub 2008 Oct 14.


Interest in the importance of Wnt signaling in diabetes has risen after identification of the transcription factor TCF7L2, a component of this pathway, as a strong risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Here, we review emerging new evidence that Wnt signaling influences endocrine pancreas development and modulates mature beta-cell functions including insulin secretion, survival and proliferation. Alterations in Wnt signaling might also impact other metabolic tissues involved in the pathogenesis of diabetes, with TCF7L2 proposed to modulate adipogenesis and regulate GLP-1 production. Together, these studies point towards a role for Wnt signaling in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes, highlighting the importance of further investigation of this pathway to develop new therapies for this disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipogenesis / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Pancreas / growth & development
  • Pancreas / metabolism
  • Pancreas / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism
  • Wnt Proteins / physiology*


  • Wnt Proteins