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Dysfunction of Persisting β Cells Is a Key Feature of Early Type 2 Diabetes Pathogenesis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Christian M. Cohrs, Julia K. Panzer, Denise M. Drotar, Stephen J. Enos, Nicole Kipke, Chunguang Chen, Robert Bozsak, Eyke Schöniger, Florian Ehehalt, Marius Distler, Ana Brennand, Stefan R. Bornstein, Jürgen Weitz, Michele Solimena, Stephan Speier

Original languageEnglish
Article number107469
JournalCell Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2020

King's Authors


Type 2 diabetes is characterized by peripheral insulin resistance and insufficient insulin release from pancreatic islet β cells. However, the role and sequence of β cell dysfunction and mass loss for reduced insulin levels in type 2 diabetes pathogenesis are unclear. Here, we exploit freshly explanted pancreas specimens from metabolically phenotyped surgical patients using an in situ tissue slice technology. This approach allows assessment of β cell volume and function within pancreas samples of metabolically stratified individuals. We show that, in tissue of pre-diabetic, impaired glucose-tolerant subjects, β cell volume is unchanged, but function significantly deteriorates, exhibiting increased basal release and loss of first-phase insulin secretion. In individuals with type 2 diabetes, function within the sustained β cell volume further declines. These results indicate that dysfunction of persisting β cells is a key factor in the early development and progression of type 2 diabetes, representing a major target for diabetes prevention and therapy.

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