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ludc web

Anna Wendt

Assistant researcher

ludc web

Pancreatic α-cells – The unsung heroes in islet function


  • Anna Wendt
  • Lena Eliasson

Summary, in English

The pancreatic islets of Langerhans consist of several hormone-secreting cell types important for blood glucose control. The insulin secreting β-cells are the best studied of these cell types, but less is known about the glucagon secreting α-cells. The α-cells secrete glucagon as a response to low blood glucose. The major function of glucagon is to release glucose from the glycogen stores in the liver. In both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, glucagon secretion is dysregulated further exaggerating the hyperglycaemia, and in type 1 diabetes α-cells fail to counter regulate hypoglycaemia. Although glucagon has been recognized for almost 100 years, the understanding of how glucagon secretion is regulated and how glucagon act within the islet is far from complete. However, α-cell research has taken off lately which is promising for future knowledge. In this review we aim to highlight α-cell regulation and glucagon secretion with a special focus on recent discoveries from human islets. We will present some novel aspects of glucagon function and effects of selected glucose lowering agents on glucagon secretion.


  • Diabetes - Islet Cell Exocytosis
  • EXODIAB: Excellence of Diabetes Research in Sweden

Publishing year







Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology



Document type

Journal article review


Academic Press


  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology and Diabetes


  • Alpha-cell
  • Diabetes
  • G-protein-coupled receptor
  • GLP-1
  • Glucagon
  • Insulin
  • Ion-channel
  • Islet
  • SGLT2
  • Somatostatin



Research group

  • Diabetes - Islet Cell Exocytosis


  • ISSN: 1084-9521