Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is characterized by chronic insulin resistance and a progressive decline in beta-cell function. Although rigorous glucose control can reduce morbidity and mortality associated with diabetes, achieving optimal long-term glycemic control remains to be accomplished in many diabetic patients. As beta-cell mass and function inevitably decline in T2D, exogenous insulin administration is almost unavoidable as a final outcome despite the use of oral antihyperglycemic agents in many diabetic patients. Pancreatic islet cell death, but not the defect in new islet formation or beta-cell replication, has been blamed for the decrease in beta-cell mass observed in T2D patients. Thus, therapeutic approaches designed to protect islet cells from apoptosis could significantly improve the management of T2D, because of its potential to reverse diabetes not just ameliorate glycemia. Therefore, an ideal beta-cell-preserving agent is expected to protect beta cells from apoptosis and stimulate postprandial insulin secretion along with increasing beta-cell replication and/or islet neogenesis. One such potential agent, the islet endocrine neuropeptide vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) strongly stimulates postprandial insulin secretion. Because of its broad spectrum of biological functions such as acting as a potent anti-inflammatory factor through suppression of Th1 immune response, and induction of immune tolerance via regulatory T cells, VIP has emerged as a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of many autoimmune diseases including diabetes.