Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is characterized by insulin resistance and beta-cell dysfunction. Although insulin resistance is assumed to be a main pathophysiological feature of the development of T2DM, recent studies have revealed that a deficit of functional beta-cell mass is an essential factor for the pathophysiology of T2DM. Pancreatic fat contents increase with obesity and are suggested to cause beta-cell dysfunction. Since the beta-cell dysfunction induced by obesity or progressive decline with disease duration results in a worsening glycemic control, and treatment failure, preserving beta-cell mass is an important treatment strategy for T2DM. In this mini-review, we summarize the current knowledge on beta-cell mass, beta-cell function, and pancreas fat in obesity and T2DM, and we discuss treatment strategies for T2DM in relation to beta-cell preservation.
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