The pancreas in human type 1 diabetes

Semin Immunopathol. 2011 Jan;33(1):29-43. doi: 10.1007/s00281-010-0208-x. Epub 2010 May 22.


Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is considered a disorder whose pathogenesis is autoimmune in origin, a notion drawn in large part from studies of human pancreata performed as far back as the 1960s. While studies of the genetics, epidemiology, and peripheral immunity in T1D have been subject to widespread analysis over the ensuing decades, efforts to understand the disorder through analysis of human pancreata have been far more limited. We have reviewed the published literature pertaining to the pathology of the human pancreas throughout all stages in the natural history of T1D. This effort uncovered a series of findings that challenge many dogmas ascribed to T1D and revealed data suggesting the marked heterogeneity in terms of its pathology. An improved understanding and appreciation for pancreatic pathology in T1D could lead to improved disease classification, an understanding of why the disorder occurs, and better therapies for disease prevention and management.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / pathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / immunology
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / pathology
  • Pancreas / immunology*
  • Pancreas / pathology
  • Pancreas / physiopathology*