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Stem Cell Rev. 2014 Jun;10(3):327-37. doi: 10.1007/s12015-014-9503-6.

Pluripotent stem cells as a potential tool for disease modelling and cell therapy in diabetes.

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  • 1Qatar Biomedical Research Institute, Qatar Foundation, Education City, 5825, Doha, Qatar,


Diabetes mellitus is the most prevailing disease with progressive incidence worldwide. To date, the pathogenesis of diabetes is far to be understood, and there is no permanent treatment available for diabetes. One of the promising approaches to understand and cure diabetes is to use pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), including embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced PCSs (iPSCs). ESCs and iPSCs have a great potential to differentiate into all cell types, and they have a high ability to differentiate into insulin-secreting β cells. Obtaining PSCs genetically identical to the patient presenting with diabetes has been a longstanding dream for the in vitro modeling of disease and ultimately cell therapy. For several years, somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) was the method of choice to generate patient-specific ESC lines. However, this technology faces ethical and practical concerns. Interestingly, the recently established iPSC technology overcomes the major problems of other stem cell types including the lack of ethical concern and no risk of immune rejection. Several iPSC lines have been recently generated from patients with different types of diabetes, and most of these cell lines are able to differentiate into insulin-secreting β cells. In this review, we summarize recent advances in the differentiation of pancreatic β cells from PSCs, and describe the challenges for their clinical use in diabetes cell therapy. Furthermore, we discuss the potential use of patient-specific PSCs as an in vitro model, providing new insights into the pathophysiology of diabetes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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