Update on Islet Hormone Production


The International Group on Insulin Secretion – IGIS – was established in the late 1990s by a group of academic researchers to boost interest in islet biology and insulin secretion and promote the dissemination of front-line research results to a wider medical public.

As a company with a long-standing interest in promoting research in diabetes, Servier provided IGIS with a long-term grant. Thanks to this support, a series of yearly closed symposia was initiated, each focusing on a central theme related to islet function in relation to type 2 diabetes.

Attended by senior scientists and younger researchers, these symposia were developed into high-level meetings with an emphasis on extensive interaction.

The XIXth Servier-IGIS Symposium, held on the theme “Update on Islet Hormone Production”, was another successful meeting where leading experts were able to interact and share their views of the subjects discussed at the meeting.

With a view of sharing the latest developments with scientists and clinicians working in the field of diabetes, the present Digest summarizes a range of topics covered at the Symposium.

“Update on Islet Hormone Production”

Tribute to Donald Steiner

Afinely regulated hormone production by the pancreatic islets of Langerhans is required for the control of energy homeostasis. Indeed, insulin secreted from pancreatic β-cells is indispensable for maintaining glucose homeostasis in healthy individuals, and loss of β-cells through autoimmune processes or loss of insulin secretion capacity through genetic mutations lead to type 1 diabetes (T1D) and “maturity-onset diabetes of the young” (MODY), respectively, medical conditions that require several daily insulin injections. Regarding type 2 diabetes (T2D), its development depends on both environmental components (eg, sedentary lifestyle and overnutrition), leading to obesity, and genetic factors, resulting in chronic hyperglycemia due to insulin resistance and an insufficient capacity of the β-cells to secrete insulin. Insulin production and exocytosis are at the core of the disease etiology, even if the question of whether a defect in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion precedes insulin resistance or not remains controversial.1-3 Other islet hormones, namely glucagon (produced by α-cells), somatostatin (δ-cells), ghrelin (ε-cells), and pancreatic polypeptide (produced by F-cells) are involved in the maintenance of whole body energy homeostasis. In this Digest of the 19th Servier–IGIS symposium, we will review the different steps required for proper hormone production: translational regulation, hormone processing and folding, secretory granules, and exocytosis. A special focus will be made on insulin due to its crucial and irreplaceable role in the control of glucose homeostasis, and updates in the production of other islets hormones will be discussed.