Excessive loss of functional pancreatic β-cell mass, mainly due to apoptosis, is a major factor in the development of hyperglycemia in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes (T1D and T2D). In T1D, β-cells are destroyed by immunological mechanisms. In T2D, while metabolic factors are known to contribute to β-cell failure and subsequent apoptosis, mounting evidence suggests that islet inflammation also plays an important role in the loss of β-cell mass. Therefore, it is of great importance for clinical intervention to develop new therapies. γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), a major neurotransmitter, is also produced by islet β-cells, where it functions as an important intraislet transmitter in regulating islet-cell secretion and function. Importantly, recent studies performed in rodents, including in vivo studies of xenotransplanted human islets, reveal that GABA exerts β-cell regenerative effects. Moreover, it protects β-cells against apoptosis induced by cytokines, drugs, and other stresses, and has anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory activities. It ameliorates the manifestations of diabetes in preclinical models, suggesting potential applications for the treatment of diabetic patients. This review outlines the actions of GABA relevant to β-cell regeneration, including its signaling mechanisms and potential interactions with other mediators. These studies increase our understanding of the regenerative processes of pancreatic β-cells, and help pave the way for the development of regenerative medicine for diabetes.
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When explaining what taro is – this was the dish I particularly did not want to miss – I think it may have been the Team Manager who said, ” Well, if you are all wondering what this grey stuff is, it is called ‘Samoan steroids’ ” or something to that effect. The stuff that gives the Manu Samoa lads strength and power to take on any rugby team – present or future! The room roared with laughter as only a Samoan with a wicked sense of humour would attempt to bring the house full of fun lovers down. Next time you visit Honolulu, be sure to make a special trip to the Polynesian Cultural Centre ( http:// ) and the Samoan village. I can guarantee you lots of laughter from the ‘comedians of the Pacific Islands’ – you certainly won’t be disappointed – it’s all top-notch entertainment from start to finish.