A Decade Later: Revisiting the TGFβ Family's Role in Diabetes

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2021 Jan;32(1):36-47. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2020.11.006. Epub 2020 Nov 28.


In 2010, we published a review summarizing the role of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGFβ) family of proteins in diabetes. At that time there were still many outstanding questions that needed to be answered. In this updated review, we revisit the topic and provide new evidence that supports findings from previous studies included in the 2010 review and adds to the knowledge base with new findings and information. The most substantial contributions in the past 10 years have been in the areas of human data, the investigation of TGFβ family members other than activin [e.g., bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), growth and differentiation factor 11 (GDF11), nodal], and the expansion of β-cell number through various mechanisms including transdifferentiation, which was previously believed to not be possible.

Keywords: TGFβ family; diabetes; islets; β-cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / genetics
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / genetics
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*


  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta