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Endocr Rev. 2006 Jun;27(4):356-70. Epub 2006 Apr 25.

Molecular control of cell cycle progression in the pancreatic beta-cell.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, BST E-1140, The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 200 Lothrop Street, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


Type 1 and type 2 diabetes both result from inadequate production of insulin by the beta-cells of the pancreatic islet. Accordingly, strategies that lead to increased pancreatic beta-cell mass, as well as retained or enhanced function of islets, would be desirable for the treatment of diabetes. Although pancreatic beta-cells have long been viewed as terminally differentiated and irreversibly arrested, evidence now indicates that beta-cells can and do replicate, that this replication can be enhanced by a variety of maneuvers, and that beta-cell replication plays a quantitatively significant role in maintaining pancreatic beta-cell mass and function. Because beta-cells have been viewed as being unable to proliferate, the science of beta-cell replication is undeveloped. In the past several years, however, this has begun to change at a rapid pace, and many laboratories are now focused on elucidating the molecular details of the control of cell cycle in the beta-cell. In this review, we review the molecular details of cell cycle control as they relate to the pancreatic beta-cell. Our hope is that this review can serve as a common basis and also a roadmap for those interested in developing novel strategies for enhancing beta-cell replication and improving insulin production in animal models as well as in human pancreatic beta-cells.

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