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The scarcity of functional insulin-secreting β cells in the pancreas is a common denominator in all forms of diabetes. Understanding the processes enhancing the number of functional insulin-producing cells will provide clues to design effective therapies for individuals with diabetes.
Several organ systems cross-talk with the pancreatic islet cells to maintain whole-body glucose homeostasis—particularly in the settings of pre-diabetes and insulin resistance. However, the nature and the identity of the molecules mediating this inter-organ metabolic communication remain to be determined.
Our laboratory employs a multidisciplinary approach to identify local, systemic and neuronal signals regulating the number and the function of pancreatic islet insulin-producing β cells in mouse and human models of obesity and diabetes.