Cell-cell interactions in the endocrine pancreas

Diabetes Obes Metab. 2009 Nov:11 Suppl 4:159-67. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1326.2009.01102.x.


Cell-cell communication within any given tissue is an important aspect of correct organ function. The islets of Langerhans forming the endocrine pancreas are composed of alpha-, beta-, delta-, epsilon- and PP-cells, and interactions between these cells are required for fine-tuning glucose homeostasis of the body. The endocrine cells communicate through homotypic or heterotypic cell-cell adhesion, or in a paracrine fashion, and this communication is involved in the regulated secretion of islet hormones. This review discusses how islet hormones, secreted molecules and ions influence the endocrine cells and how cell adhesion molecules such as neural cell adhesion molecule, cadherins, connexin-36, Eph receptors and ephrin ligands, as well as extracellular matrix proteins, modulate pancreatic islet function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication / genetics
  • Cell Communication / physiology*
  • Gap Junctions / physiology
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / physiology*
  • Islets of Langerhans / cytology*
  • Islets of Langerhans / physiology
  • Mice
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / genetics
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / physiology*
  • Receptors, Eph Family / genetics
  • Receptors, Eph Family / physiology*


  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Receptors, Eph Family