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Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2000 Nov;11(9):375-8.

Life and death of the pancreatic beta cells.

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  • 1Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School, 1 Joslin Place, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Pancreatic beta cells are responsible for maintaining the body's glucose levels within a very narrow range; their population is dynamic, with compensatory changes to maintain euglycemia. Throughout the lifetime of a mammal, low levels of beta-cell replication and apoptosis are balanced and result in a slowly increasing mass of beta cells. The emphasis in this review is on recent insights on the natural history of the beta cell in a normal pancreas: sources of renewal, survival and changes in differentiation.

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