Historically, type 2 diabetes (T2D) was considered a metabolic disease of ageing. However, recent discoveries have demonstrated the role of chronic systemic inflammation in the development of insulin resistance and subsequent progression to T2D. Over the years, investigations into the pathophysiology of T2D have identified the presence of islet-specific T cells and islet autoimmune disease in T2D patients. Moreover, the cell-mediated islet autoimmunity has also been correlated with the progressive loss of β-cell function associated with T2D disease pathogenesis. In this manuscript, the involvement of cell-mediated islet autoimmune disease in the progression of T2D disease and the similarities in islet-specific T-cell reactivity between type 1 diabetes (T1D) and T2D are discussed.