Nrf2: The Master and Captain of Beta Cell Fate

Sharon Baumel-Alterzon, Liora S. Katz, Gabriel Brill, Adolfo Garcia-Ocaña, Donald K. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Prolonged hyperglycemia is toxic to pancreatic β cells, generating excessive reactive oxygen species, defective glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, decreased insulin production, and eventually β cell death and diabetes. Nrf2 is a master regulator of cellular responses to counteract dangerous levels of oxidative stress. Maintenance of β cell mass depends on Nrf2 to promote the survival, function, and proliferation of β cells. Indeed, Nrf2 activation decreases inflammation, increases insulin sensitivity, reduces body weight, and preserves β cell mass. Therefore, numerous pharmacological activators of Nrf2 are being tested in clinical trials for the treatment of diabetes and diabetic complications. Modulating Nrf2 activity in β cells is a promising therapeutic approach for the treatment of diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-19
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Nrf2
  • diabetes
  • metabolic stress
  • oxidative stress
  • pancreatic beta cell
  • proliferation


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