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Impaired insulin secretion from pancreatic β-cells is a major factor in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. The main regulator of insulin secretion is the plasma glucose concentration. Insulin secretion is modified by other nutrients, circulating hormones and the autonomic nervous system, as well as local paracrine and autocrine signals. Autocrine signalling involves diffusible molecules that bind to receptors on the same cell from which they have been released. The first transmitter to be implicated in the autocrine regulation of β-cell function was insulin itself. The importance of autocrine insulin signalling is underscored by the finding that mice lacking insulin receptors in β-cells are glucose intolerant. In addition to insulin, β-cells secrete a variety of additional substances, including peptides (e.g. amylin, chromogranin A and B and their cleavage products), neurotransmitters (ATP and γ-aminobutyric acid) and ions (e.g. zinc). Here we review the autocrine effects of substances secreted from β-cells, with a focus on acute effects in stimulus-secretion coupling, present some novel data and discuss the general significance of autocrine signals for the regulation of insulin secretion.

Original publication




Journal article


Diabetes Obes Metab

Publication Date



14 Suppl 3


143 - 151


Adenosine Triphosphate, Animals, Autocrine Communication, Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Humans, Insulin, Insulin Secretion, Insulin-Secreting Cells, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Neuropeptide Y, Rats, Receptor, Insulin, Signal Transduction, Zinc, gamma-Aminobutyric Acid