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Diabetes. 2008 Jun;57(6):1584-94. doi: 10.2337/db07-1369. Epub 2008 Mar 11.

Beta-cell replication is the primary mechanism subserving the postnatal expansion of beta-cell mass in humans.

Author information

1
Larry Hillblom Islet Research Center, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90095-7073, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Little is known about the capacity, mechanisms, or timing of growth in beta-cell mass in humans. We sought to establish if the predominant expansion of beta-cell mass in humans occurs in early childhood and if, as in rodents, this coincides with relatively abundant beta-cell replication. We also sought to establish if there is a secondary growth in beta-cell mass coincident with the accelerated somatic growth in adolescence.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS:

To address these questions, pancreas volume was determined from abdominal computer tomographies in 135 children aged 4 weeks to 20 years, and morphometric analyses were performed in human pancreatic tissue obtained at autopsy from 46 children aged 2 weeks to 21 years.

RESULTS:

We report that 1) beta-cell mass expands by severalfold from birth to adulthood, 2) islets grow in size rather than in number during this transition, 3) the relative rate of beta-cell growth is highest in infancy and gradually declines thereafter to adulthood with no secondary accelerated growth phase during adolescence, 4) beta-cell mass (and presumably growth) is highly variable between individuals, and 5) a high rate of beta-cell replication is coincident with the major postnatal expansion of beta-cell mass.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data imply that regulation of beta-cell replication during infancy plays a major role in beta-cell mass in adult humans.

PMID:
18334605
PMCID:
PMC3697779
DOI:
10.2337/db07-1369
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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