Alpha cell function in type 1 diabetes


  • David Simon Hughes Centre of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Institute of Biomedical Research, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK
  • Parth Narendran Centre of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Institute of Biomedical Research, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK



Our understanding of the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes mellitus has traditionally revolved around the insulin deficiency that follows pancreatic beta cell loss. However, there is an increasing appreciation of defects in other gluco-regulatory cells in type 1 diabetes mellitus. Oversecretion of glucagon from pancreatic alpha cells is characteristic of type 1 diabetes mellitus, and modulating these glucagon levels reduces hyperglycaemia. This article reviews alpha cell function in type 1 diabetes mellitus. We examine how its function is controlled and compromised, and review studies that target alpha cell function. Finally, we explore potential approaches to modulating alpha cell function in type 1 diabetes mellitus.


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