Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 72, Issue 3, pp 453–467

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

Review

DOI: 10.1007/s00018-014-1755-4

Cite this article as:
Rutter, G.A. & Hodson, D.J. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2015) 72: 453. doi:10.1007/s00018-014-1755-4

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Mouse Human Signaling Insulin Diabetes Imaging Network 

Abbreviations

AC

Adenyl cyclase

ACh

Acetylcholine

ADP

Adenosine diphosphate

ATP

Adenosine triphosphate

cAMP

Cyclic adenosine monophosphate

Cx36

Connexin 36

Epac

Exchange protein activated by cAMP

fMCI

Functional multicellular calcium imaging

GABA

Gamma aminobutyric acid

GIP

Glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide

GJ

Gap junction

GLP-1

Glucagon-like peptide-1

GWAS

Genome-wide association studies

GPCR

G protein-coupled receptor

KATP

ATP-sensitive K+ channel

SST

Somatostatin

SNP

Single nucleotide polymorphism

T2DM

Type 2 diabetes mellitus

VDCC

Voltage-dependent Ca2+-channel

Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Cell Biology, Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, Imperial Centre for Translational and Experimental MedicineHammersmith HospitalLondonUK