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Diabetes. 2014 Apr;63(4):1283-8. doi: 10.2337/db13-1435. Epub 2013 Dec 18.

Elevated mouse hepatic betatrophin expression does not increase human β-cell replication in the transplant setting.

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Department of Genetics and Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.


The recent discovery of betatrophin, a protein secreted by the liver and white adipose tissue in conditions of insulin resistance and shown to dramatically stimulate replication of mouse insulin-producing β-cells, has raised high hopes for the rapid development of a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of diabetes. At present, however, the effects of betatrophin on human β-cells are not known. Here we use administration of the insulin receptor antagonist S961, shown to increase betatrophin gene expression and stimulate β-cell replication in mice, to test its effect on human β-cells. Although mouse β-cells, in their normal location in the pancreas or when transplanted under the kidney capsule, respond with a dramatic increase in β-cell DNA replication, human β-cells are completely unresponsive. These results put into question whether betatrophin can be developed as a therapeutic approach for treating human diabetes.

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