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Autophagy. 2009 Oct;5(7):1055-6. Epub 2009 Oct 14.

Autophagy and the pancreatic beta-cell in human type 2 diabetes.

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  • 1Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy. marchant@immr.med.unipi.it


Pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction is central to the development and worsening of type 2 diabetes. Whereas beta-cell apoptosis plays a major role in reducing beta-cell mass in diabetes, alterations of autophagy can also lead to beta-cell death, as recently demonstrated in type 2 diabetic subjects. In addition, several studies with cell lines and rodent models have shown the importance of autophagy in regulating beta-cell survival and function. Although most of the underlying molecular mechanisms remain to be elucidated, this growing evidence raises interest in the role of autophagy in beta-cell pathophysiology and suggests the possibility of exploring autophagic processes to develop tools for protection of the pancreatic beta-cell in type 2 diabetes.

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