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All mixed up: defining roles for β-cell subtypes in mature islets


Following differentiation during fetal development, β cells further adapt to their postnatal role through functional maturation. While adult islets are thought to contain functionally mature β cells, recent analyses of transgenic rodent and human pancreata reveal a number of novel heterogeneity markers in mammalian β cells. The marked heterogeneity long after maturation raises the prospect that diverse populations harbor distinct roles aside from glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. In this review, we outline our current understanding of the β-cell maturation process, emphasize recent literature on novel heterogeneity markers, and offer perspectives on reconciling the findings from these two areas.

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