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J Mol Med (Berl). 2003 Aug;81(8):455-70. Epub 2003 Jul 18.

Inflammatory mediators and islet beta-cell failure: a link between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, University Hospital, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland.


Pancreatic islet beta-cell death occurs in type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus, leading to absolute or relative insulin deficiency. beta-cell death in type 1 diabetes is due predominantly to autoimmunity. In type 2 diabetes beta-cell death occurs as the combined consequence of increased circulating glucose and saturated fatty acids together with adipocyte secreted factors and chronic activation of the innate immune system. In both diabetes types intra-islet inflammatory mediators seem to trigger a final common pathway leading to beta-cell apoptosis. Therefore anti-inflammatory therapeutic approaches designed to block beta-cell apoptosis could be a significant new development in type 1 and 2 diabetes.

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