Too much of a good thing: why it is bad to stimulate the beta cell to secrete insulin

K. Aston-Mourney, J. Proietto, Grant Morahan, S. Andrikopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In many countries, first- or second-line pharmacological treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes consists of sulfonylureas (such as glibenclamide [known as glyburide in the USA and Canada]), which stimulate the beta cell to secrete insulin. However, emerging evidence suggests that forcing the beta cell to secrete insulin at a time when it is struggling to cope with the demands of obesity and insulin resistance may accelerate its demise. Studies on families with persistent hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia of infancy (PHHI), the primary defect of which is hypersecretion of insulin, have shown that overt diabetes can develop later in life despite normal insulin sensitivity. In addition, in vitro experiments have suggested that reducing insulin secretion from islets isolated from patients with diabetes can restore insulin pulsatility and improve function. This article will explore the hypothesis that forcing the beta cell to hypersecrete insulin may be counterproductive and lead to dysfunction and death via mechanisms that may involve the endoplasmic reticulum and oxidative stress. We suggest that, in diabetes, therapeutic approaches should be targeted towards relieving the demand on the beta cell to secrete insulin.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)540-545
Number of pages6
JournalDiabetolgia
Volume51
Issue number4
Early online date2 Feb 2008
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008

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