Biomarkers of islet beta cell stress and death in type 1 diabetes

Diabetologia. 2018 Nov;61(11):2259-2265. doi: 10.1007/s00125-018-4712-1. Epub 2018 Aug 15.


Recent work on the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes has led to an evolving recognition of the heterogeneity of this disease, both with regards to clinical phenotype and responses to therapies to prevent or revert diabetes. This heterogeneity not only limits efforts to accurately predict clinical disease but also is reflected in differing responses to immunomodulatory therapeutics. Thus, there is a need for robust biomarkers of beta cell health, which could provide insight into pathophysiological differences in disease course, improve disease prediction, increase the understanding of therapeutic responses to immunomodulatory interventions and identify individuals most likely to benefit from these therapies. In this review, we outline current literature, limitations and future directions for promising circulating markers of beta cell stress and death in type 1 diabetes, including markers indicating abnormal prohormone processing, circulating RNAs and circulating DNAs.

Keywords: Biomarker; Diabetes mellitus; Pancreatic beta cells; Pancreatic islets; Review; Type 1 diabetes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism*
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers