Beta cell connectivity in pancreatic islets: a type 2 diabetes target?

Guy A Rutter, David J Hodson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
243 Downloads (Pure)


Beta cell connectivity describes the phenomenon whereby the islet context improves insulin secretion by providing a three-dimensional platform for intercellular signaling processes. Thus, the precise flow of information through homotypically interconnected beta cells leads to the large-scale organization of hormone release activities, influencing cell responses to glucose and other secretagogues. Although a phenomenon whose importance has arguably been underappreciated in islet biology until recently, a growing number of studies suggest that such cell-cell communication is a fundamental property of this micro-organ. Hence, connectivity may plausibly be targeted by both environmental and genetic factors in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) to perturb normal beta cell function and insulin release. Here, we review the mechanisms that contribute to beta cell connectivity, discuss how these may fail during T2DM, and examine approaches to restore insulin secretion by boosting cell communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-67
Number of pages15
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number3
Early online date17 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


  • Animals
  • Cell Communication
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
  • Gap Junctions
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Glucose
  • Humans
  • Insulin
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells
  • Islets of Langerhans
  • Models, Biological
  • Paracrine Communication


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