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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2006;38(5-6):873-93. Epub 2005 Oct 4.

Animal models of type 2 diabetes with reduced pancreatic beta-cell mass.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Patologia Sperimentale, Biotecnologie Mediche, Infettivologia ed Epidemiologia, University of Pisa, Scuola Medica, Italy.


Type 2 diabetes is increasingly viewed as a disease of insulin deficiency due not only to intrinsic pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction but also to reduction of beta-cell mass. It is likely that, in diabetes-prone subjects, the regulated beta-cell turnover that adapts cell mass to body's insulin requirements is impaired, presumably on a genetic basis. We still have a limited knowledge of how and when this derangement occurs and what might be the most effective therapeutic strategy to preserve beta-cell mass. The animal models of type 2 diabetes with reduced beta-cell mass described in this review can be extremely helpful (a) to have insight into the mechanisms underlying the defective growth or accelerated loss of beta-cells leading to the beta-cell mass reduction; (b) to investigate in prospective studies the mechanisms of compensatory adaptation and subsequent failure of a reduced beta-cell mass. Furthermore, these models are of invaluable importance to test the effectiveness of potential therapeutic agents that either stimulate beta-cell growth or inhibit beta-cell death.

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