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Mol Endocrinol. 2001 Mar;15(3):476-83.

Beta-cell differentiation from a human pancreatic cell line in vitro and in vivo.

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University of California San Diego Cancer Center La Jolla, California 92093-0912, USA.


Cell transplantation therapy for diabetes is limited by an inadequate supply of cells exhibiting glucose-responsive insulin secretion. To generate an unlimited supply of human beta-cells, inducibly transformed pancreatic beta-cell lines have been created by expression of dominant oncogenes. The cell lines grow indefinitely but lose differentiated function. Induction of beta-cell differentiation was achieved by stimulating the signaling pathways downstream of the transcription factor PDX-1, cell-cell contact, and the glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) receptor. Synergistic activation of those pathways resulted in differentiation into functional beta-cells exhibiting glucose-responsive insulin secretion in vitro. Both oncogene-expressing and oncogene-deleted cells were transplanted into nude mice and found to exhibit glucose-responsive insulin secretion in vivo. The ability to grow unlimited quantities of human beta-cells is a major step toward developing a cell transplantation therapy for diabetes.

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