Role of AMPK in pancreatic beta cell function.
Pharmacological activation of AMP activated kinase (AMPK) by metformin has proven to be a beneficial therapeutic approach for the treatment of type II diabetes. Despite improved glucose regulation achieved by administration of small molecule activators of AMPK, the potential negative impact of enhanced AMPK activity on insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cell is an important consideration. In this review, we discuss our current understanding of the role of AMPK in central functions of the pancreatic beta cell, including glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS), proliferation, and survival. In addition we discuss the controversy surrounding the role of AMPK in insulin secretion, underscoring the merits and caveats of methods used to date. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.