Background: The sex of an individual affects glucose homeostasis and the pathophysiology, incidence, and prevalence of diabetes as well as the response to therapy.
Scope of the review: This review focuses on clinical and experimental sex differences in islet cell biology and dysfunction during development and in adulthood in human and animal models. We discuss sex differences in β-cell and α-cell function, heterogeneity, and dysfunction. We cover sex differences in communication between gonads and islets and islet-cell immune interactions. Finally, we discuss sex differences in β-cell programming by nutrition and other environmental factors during pregnancy.
Major conclusions: Important sex differences exist in islet cell function and susceptibility to failure. These differences represent sex-related biological factors that can be harnessed for gender-based prevention of and therapy for diabetes.
Keywords: Diabetes; Gender differences; Immune cells; Islet; Sex differences; α-cell; β-cell.
Published by Elsevier GmbH.