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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016 Dec;1861(12 Pt B):2121-2129. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2016.05.003. Epub 2016 May 10.

New emerging tasks for microRNAs in the control of β-cell activities.

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Department of Fundamental Neurosciences, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
Department of Fundamental Neurosciences, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Electronic address:


MicroRNAs are key regulators of β-cell physiology. They participate to the differentiation of insulin-producing cells and are instrumental for the acquisition of their unique secretory properties. Moreover, they contribute to the adaptation of β-cells to conditions of increased insulin demand and, if expressed at inappropriate levels, certain microRNAs cause β-cell dysfunction and promote the development of different forms of diabetes mellitus. While these functions are increasingly better understood, additional tasks for these small non-coding RNAs have been recently unveiled. Thus, microRNAs are emerging as signaling molecules of a novel exosome-mediated cell-to-cell communication mode permitting a coordinated response of the β-cells to inflammatory conditions and to modifications in the insulin demand. These discoveries raise a number of important issues that once addressed promise to shed new light on the molecular mechanism governing the functions of the β-cells under normal and disease states. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: MicroRNAs and lipid/energy metabolism and related diseases edited by Carlos Fernández-Hernando and Yajaira Suárez.


Diabetes; Exosome; Insulin; Islet; MicroRNA

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