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Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency in diabetes mellitus: a complication of diabetic neuropathy or a different type of diabetes?

Philip D Hardt, Nils Ewald
Experimental Diabetes Research 2011, 2011: 761950
21822421
Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency is a frequently observed phenomenon in type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Alterations of exocrine pancreatic morphology can also be found frequently in diabetic patients. Several hypotheses try to explain these findings, including lack of insulin as a trophic factor for exocrine tissue, changes in secretion and/or action of other islet hormones, and autoimmunity against common endocrine and exocrine antigens. Another explanation might be that diabetes mellitus could also be a consequence of underlying pancreatic diseases (e.g., chronic pancreatitis). Another pathophysiological concept proposes the functional and morphological alterations as a consequence of diabetic neuropathy. This paper discusses the currently available studies on this subject and tries to provide an overview of the current concepts of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency in diabetes mellitus.

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