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Inflammatory damage contributes to β-cell failure in type 1 and 2 diabetes (T1D and T2D). Mitochondria are damaged by inflammatory signaling in β-cells, resulting in impaired bioenergetics and initiation of pro-apoptotic machinery. Hence, the identification of protective responses to inflammation could lead to new therapeutic targets. Here we report that mitophagy serves as a protective response to inflammatory stress in both human and rodent β-cells. Utilizing in vivo mitophagy reporters, we observed that diabetogenic pro-inflammatory cytokines induced mitophagy in response to nitrosative/oxidative mitochondrial damage. Mitophagy-deficient β-cells were sensitized to inflammatory stress, leading to the accumulation of fragmented dysfunctional mitochondria, increased β-cell death, and hyperglycemia. Overexpression of CLEC16A , a T1D gene and mitophagy regulator whose expression in islets is protective against T1D, ameliorated cytokine-induced human β-cell apoptosis. Thus, mitophagy promotes β-cell survival and prevents diabetes by countering inflammatory injury. Targeting this pathway has the potential to prevent β-cell failure in diabetes and may be beneficial in other inflammatory conditions. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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