'Giving and taking': endothelial and beta-cells in the islets of Langerhans

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Aug;21(8):457-63. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2010.03.003. Epub 2010 Mar 31.


The beta-cells of the islets of Langerhans are embedded in a dense capillary network. The blood vessels supply the islet cells with nutrients and oxygen, and in turn take up the secreted islet hormones to deliver them to target tissues. In addition, vessels provide a basement membrane, which optimizes islet function. In this review we focus on the dynamic interactions between blood vessels and beta-cells, which are pivotal for enhancing insulin expression and beta-cell proliferation in response to increased insulin demand during body growth, pregnancy, and virtually all conditions associated with insulin resistance. Importantly, a failure in this adaptive response might contribute to the onset of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy
  • Endothelial Cells / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / physiology*
  • Islets of Langerhans / blood supply
  • Islets of Langerhans / cytology*
  • Islets of Langerhans / physiology
  • Microvessels / physiology
  • Pancreas / blood supply
  • Pancreas / embryology
  • Pancreas / physiology
  • Pancreas / physiopathology


  • Insulin