White, Morris F. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, Massachusetts.
Last reviewed:September 2016
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A protein hormone produced by the beta cells of the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas and regulating the amount of glucose in the blood. Insulin is a key body hormone and participates in carbohydrate and fat metabolism. It is produced and secreted by pancreatic beta cells (Fig. 1) located in the islets of Langerhans. Along with insulinlike growth factors (IGF1 and IGF2), insulin regulates a variety of metabolic and growth-related effects in target tissues, including stimulation of glucose transport, glycogen synthesis, lipogenesis, gene transcription, and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) synthesis. Moreover, the insulin/IGF signaling system promotes cell growth and survival, as well as being essential for normal reproductive capacity. When insulin becomes unavailable or fails to function, diabetes ensues. See also: Carbohydrate metabolism; Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA); Diabetes; Gene; Glucose; Glycogen; Hormone; Lipid metabolism; Pancreas; Transcription
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