Fatty acids, lipotoxicity and insulin secretion
tant energy source for most body tissues, particularly during periods of food deprivation, but recent evidence suggests that these same molecules subserve a much broader function in whole body fuel homeostasis by virtue of their ability to act as potent signalling entities in a variety of cellular processes. One such auxiliary role of NEFA is to heighten the responsiveness of the pancreatic beta cell to a variety of insulin secretagogues. Importantly, this fatty acid-beta cell interaction, though designed by nature for physiological purposes, can, under certain circumstances, take on a pathophysiological dimension. Some new developments surrounding this Jekyll and Hyde character of fatty acids will be reviewed briefly below.