Medical Definition of Pancreatic beta cell

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Pancreatic beta cell: A type of cell in the pancreas that makes insulin.

The pancreas is a fish-shaped organ that stretches across the back of the abdomen behind the stomach. Within the pancreas there are areas that are called the islets of Langerhans. The beta cells constitute the predominant type of cell in the islets.

The beta cells are particularly important because they make insulin. Degeneration of the beta cells is the main cause of type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus.

Pancreas illustration - Pancreatic beta cell
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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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