The role of aging upon β cell turnover

J Clin Invest. 2013 Mar;123(3):990-5. doi: 10.1172/JCI64095. Epub 2013 Mar 1.


Preservation and regeneration of β cell endocrine function is a long-sought goal in diabetes research. Defective insulin secretion from β cells underlies both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, thus fueling considerable interest in molecules capable of rebuilding β cell secretion capacity. Though early work in rodents suggested that regeneration might be possible, recent studies have revealed that aging powerfully restricts cell cycle entry of β cells, which may limit regeneration capacity. Consequently, aging has emerged as an enigmatic challenge that might limit β cell regeneration therapies. This Review summarizes recent data regarding the role of aging in β cell regeneration and proposes models explaining these phenomena.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle / genetics
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / physiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / pathology*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin / physiology
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / physiology*
  • Mitosis
  • Pancreas / pathology
  • Pancreas / physiopathology
  • Regeneration


  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16
  • Insulin