Fatty acids and beta-cell function
at the Third JDF World Conference on Diabetes Research held in Monaco in 1991 there was little, if any, mention of the role of fatty acids in pancreatic betacell function. However, this situation has now changed dramatically on the heels of two recent and simultaneousdevelopments. The first has to do with the notion that there is at work within the beta cell, just as in other tissues, an important element of glucose-fatty acid “cross-talk” which appears to be essential for the normal regulation of insulin secretion. The second revelation is that chronic exposureof the beta cell to high levels of circulating fatty acids can actually be detrimental tostimulus-secretioncoupling,andmightbeafactor intheaetiologyofnon-insulin-dependent,andpossibly insulin-dependent, diabetes. Thus, the emerging pictureisthatfromthestandpointofbeta-cell functionfatty acidscan play“a good,a badandanugly”role.These characteristics form the subject of the current session.