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Background : Mitochondrial diabetes is primarily caused by β-cell failure, a cell type whose unique properties are important in pathogenesis. Methods : By reducing glucose, we induced energetic stress in two rodent β-cell models to assess effects on cellular function. Results : Culturing rat insulin-secreting INS-1 cells in low glucose conditions caused a rapid reduction in whole cell respiration, associated with elevated mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production, and an altered glucose-stimulated insulin secretion profile. Prolonged exposure to reduced glucose directly impaired mitochondrial function and reduced autophagy. Conclusions : Insulinoma cell lines have a very different bioenergetic profile to many other cell lines and provide a useful model of mechanisms affecting β-cell mitochondrial function.

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