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Modulation of Specific Beta Cell Gene (Re)Expression During In Vitro Expansion of Human Pancreatic Islet Cells

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The need for transplantable beta cells with a stable phenotype has given rise to several strategies including the expansion of existing pancreatic islets and/or growth of new ones. In vitro studies of beta cell proliferation on extracellular matrices plus growth factors have highlighted a possible cell expansion technique; however, the technique was accompanied with loss of insulin secretion. Herein we showed that human islet cell proliferation was marked by a decreased expression of specific differentiation markers, particularly insulin, insulin promoting factor-1 (IPF-1), and glucokinase. After a 6-day expansion period, we tried to reexpress the beta cell differentiation markers with compounds known for their differentiation and/or insulin-secreting properties. Sodium butyrate was a potent factor of IPF-1, insulin, and glucokinase gene reexpression; it also clearly induced secretion of gastrin, a known neogenic factor. Other compounds, namely TGF-β, calcitriol, GLP-1, and activin A, efficiently enhanced the glucose sensor machinery, particularly Glut-1 and glucokinase, thus triggering glucose responsiveness. Our results indicate that specific beta cell gene expression may be induced after expansion and dedifferentiation. This rekindles interest in human beta cell expansion. The possible stabilization of specialized genes needed by beta cells to fulfill their role as nutrient sensors and metabolic regulators may also be of interest to ensure graft maintenance and efficiency.

Keywords: Cell expansion and differentiation; Human; Pancreatic beta cell

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Thérapie Cellulaire du Diabète, INSERM, ERIM 0106, Faculté de Médecine, Place de Verdun, 59045 Lille, France

Publication date: 2002-12-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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