Type 2 diabetes: a multifaceted disease

Ewan Pearson (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

113 Citations (Scopus)
281 Downloads (Pure)


Type 2 diabetes is a complex disease usually diagnosed with little regard to aetiology. In the broader sense, it is a mix of different clearly defined aetiologies, such as monogenic diabetes, that we need to be better at identifying as this has major implications for treatment and patient management. Beyond this, however, type 2 diabetes is a highly heterogeneous polygenic disease. This review outlines the recent developments that recognise this heterogeneity by deconvoluting the aetiology of type 2 diabetes into pathophysiological processes, either by measuring physiological variables (such as beta cell function or insulin resistance) or using partitioned polygenic scores, and addresses recent work that clusters type 2 diabetes into distinct subgroups. Increasing evidence suggests that considering the aetiological components of type 2 diabetes matters, in terms of progression rates, treatment response and complications. In other words, clinicians need to recognise that type 2 diabetes is multifaceted and that its characteristics are important for how patients are managed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1107-1112
Number of pages6
Issue number7
Early online date3 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Aetiology
  • Clustering
  • Complex disease
  • Monogenic diabetes
  • Palette model
  • Pathophysiology
  • Review
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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