The growing prevalence of obesity and its related metabolic diseases, mainly Type 2 diabetes (T2D), has increased the interest in adipose tissue (AT) and its role as a principal metabolic orchestrator. Two decades of research have now shown that ATs act as an endocrine organ, secreting soluble factors termed adipocytokines or adipokines. These adipokines play crucial roles in whole-body metabolism with different mechanisms of action largely dependent on the tissue or cell type they are acting on. The pancreatic β cell, a key regulator of glucose metabolism due to its ability to produce and secrete insulin, has been identified as a target for several adipokines. This review will focus on how adipokines affect pancreatic β cell function and their impact on pancreatic β cell survival in disease contexts such as diabetes. Initially, the “classic” adipokines will be discussed, followed by novel secreted adipocyte-specific factors that show therapeutic promise in regulating the adipose–pancreatic β cell axis.

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