The β Cell in Diabetes: Integrating Biomarkers with Functional Measures

Steven E. Kahn*, Yi-Chun Chen, Nathalie Esser, Austin J. Taylor, Daniël H. van Raalte, Sakeneh Zraika, C. Bruce Verchere

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


The pathogenesis of hyperglycemia observed in most forms of diabetes is intimately tied to the islet β cell. Impairments in propeptide processing and secretory function, along with the loss of these vital cells, is demonstrable not only in those in whom the diagnosis is established but typically also in individuals who are at increased risk of developing the disease. Biomarkers are used to inform on the state of a biological process, pathological condition, or response to an intervention and are increasingly being used for predicting, diagnosing, and prognosticating disease. They are also proving to be of use in the different forms of diabetes in both research and clinical settings. This review focuses on the β cell, addressing the potential utility of genetic markers, circulating molecules, immune cell phenotyping, and imaging approaches as biomarkers of cellular function and loss of this critical cell. Further, we consider how these biomarkers complement the more long-established, dynamic, and often complex measurements of β-cell secretory function that themselves could be considered biomarkers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-583
Number of pages56
JournalEndocrine Reviews
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

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