Pathophysiology and treatment of type 2 diabetes: Perspectives on the past, present, and future

Steven E. Kahn, Mark E. Cooper, Stefano Del Prato

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

743 Citations (Scopus)


Glucose metabolism is normally regulated by a feedback loop including islet β cells and insulin-sensitive tissues, in which tissue sensitivity to insulin aff ects magnitude of β-cell response. If insulin resistance is present, β cells maintain normal glucose tolerance by increasing insulin output. Only when β cells cannot release suffi cient insulin in the presence of insulin resistance do glucose concentrations rise. Although β-cell dysfunction has a clear genetic component, environmental changes play an essential part. Modern research approaches have helped to establish the important role that hexoses, aminoacids, and fatty acids have in insulin resistance and β-cell dysfunction, and the potential role of changes in the microbiome. Several new approaches for treatment have been developed, but more eff ective therapies to slow progressive loss of β-cell function are needed. Recent fi ndings from clinical trials provide important information about methods to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes and some of the adverse eff ects of these interventions. However, additional long-term studies of drugs and bariatric surgery are needed to identify new ways to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes and thereby reduce the harmful eff ects of this disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1068-1083
Number of pages16
JournalThe Lancet
Issue number9922
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

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