Cover Story Current Issue

White adipose tissue (WAT) is a complex organ that plays a central role in systemic energy balance through its interrelated metabolic, endocrine, and immune functions. Adipocytes, the parenchymal cells of adipose tissue, have diverse functions that include storage and mobilization of lipids. They also release endocrine signals that report energy status to the brain, regulating metabolic functions in peripheral organs. Importantly, the metabolic character of white adipocytes is flexible, with cells capable of assuming distinct anabolic and catabolic/thermogenic phenotypes, often within the same adipose tissue depot

Elizabeth A. Rondini, Vanesa D. Ramseyer, Rayanne B. Burl, Roger Pique-Regi, James G. Granneman

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Current Issue

What is a β cell? – Chapter I in the Human Islet Research Network (HIRN) review series

Klaus H. Kaestner, Martha Campbell–Thompson, Yuval Dor, Ronald G. Gill, ... Alvin C. Powers

Background

The pancreatic β cell, as the sole source of the vital hormone insulin, has been under intensive study for more than a century. Given the potential of newly created insulin-producing cells as a treatment or even cure of type 1 diabetes (T1D) and possibly in severe cases of type 2 diabetes (T2D), multiple academic and commercial laboratories are working to derive surrogate glucose-responsive, insulin-producing cells.

Scope of Review

The recent development of advanced phenotyping technologies, including molecular, epigenomic, histological, or functional, have greatly improved our understanding of the critical properties of human β cells. Using this information, here we summarize the salient features of normal, fully functional adult human β cells, and propose minimal criteria for what should rightfully be termed ‘β cells’ as opposed to insulin-producing but not fully-functional surrogates that we propose should be referred to as ‘β-like’ cells or insulin-producing cells.

Major Conclusions

Clear criteria can be established to differentiate fully functional, mature β cells from ‘β-like’ surrogates. In addition, we outline important knowledge gaps that must be addressed to enable a greater understanding of the β cell.

What is a β cell? – Chapter I in the Human Islet Research Network (HIRN) review series

Klaus H. Kaestner, Martha Campbell–Thompson, Yuval Dor, Ronald G. Gill, ... Alvin C. Powers

Background

The pancreatic β cell, as the sole source of the vital hormone insulin, has been under intensive study for more than a century. Given the potential of newly created insulin-producing cells as a treatment or even cure of type 1 diabetes (T1D) and possibly in severe cases of type 2 diabetes (T2D), multiple academic and commercial laboratories are working to derive surrogate glucose-responsive, insulin-producing cells.

Scope of Review

The recent development of advanced phenotyping technologies, including molecular, epigenomic, histological, or functional, have greatly improved our understanding of the critical properties of human β cells. Using this information, here we summarize the salient features of normal, fully functional adult human β cells, and propose minimal criteria for what should rightfully be termed ‘β cells’ as opposed to insulin-producing but not fully-functional surrogates that we propose should be referred to as ‘β-like’ cells or insulin-producing cells.

Major Conclusions

Clear criteria can be established to differentiate fully functional, mature β cells from ‘β-like’ surrogates. In addition, we outline important knowledge gaps that must be addressed to enable a greater understanding of the β cell.

2020 impact factor: 7.4

The 60 Second Metabolist

In this section authors briefly report on their work recently published in Molecular Metabolism.

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