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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2016 Oct;40:1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2016.05.010. Epub 2016 Jun 3.

Regeneration of pancreatic insulin-producing cells by in situ adaptive cell conversion.

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Department of Clinical Science, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Bergen, Jonas Lies vei 65, 5021 Bergen, Norway.
Department of Genetic Medicine & Development, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Genetics and Genomics in Geneva (iGE3), and Centre facultaire du diabète, University of Geneva, 1 rue Michel-Servet, 1211 Geneva-4, Switzerland. Electronic address:


The impaired ability to produce or respond to insulin, a hormone synthetized by the pancreatic β-cells, leads to diabetes. There is an excruciating need of finding new approaches to protect or restore these cells once they are lost. Replacement and ex vivo directed reprogramming methods have an undeniable therapeutic potential, yet they exhibit crucial flaws. The in vivo conversion of adult cells to functional insulin-producing cells is a promising alternative for regenerative treatments in diabetes. The stunning natural transdifferentiation potential of the adult endocrine pancreas was recently uncovered. Modulating molecular targets involved in β-cell fate maintenance or in general differentiation mechanisms can further potentiate this intrinsic cell plasticity, which leads to insulin production reconstitution.

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