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Open Access Characterization of Human Pancreatic Progenitor Cells

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β-Cell replacement therapy via islet transplantation is an effective treatment for diabetes mellitus, but its widespread use is severely limited by the shortage of donor organs. Because pancreatic stem/progenitor cells are abundantly available in the pancreas of these patients and in donor organs, the cells could become a useful target for β-cell replacement therapy. We previously established a mouse pancreatic stem cell line without genetic manipulation. In this study, we used the techniques to identify and isolate human pancreatic stem/progenitor cells. The cells from a duct-rich population were cultured in 23 kinds of culture media, based on media for mouse pancreatic stem cells or for human embryonic stem cells. The cells in serum-free media formed “cobblestone” morphologies, similar to a mouse pancreatic stem cell line. On the other hand, the cells in serum-containing medium and the medium for human embryonic stem cells formed “fibroblast-like” morphologies. The cells divided actively until day 30, and the population doubling level (PDL) was 6‐10. However, the cells stopped dividing after 30 days in any culture conditions. During the cultures, the nucleus/cytoplasm (N/C) ratio decreased, suggesting that the cells entered senescence. Exendin-4 treatment and transduction of PDX-1 and NeuroD proteins by protein transduction technology into the cells induced insulin and pancreas-related gene expression. Although the duplications of these cells were limited, this approach could provide a potential new source of insulin-producing cells for transplantation.

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Keywords: BETA2/NeuroD; Duct-rich population; Exendin-4; Human pancreatic progenitor cell; PDX-1; Protein transduction domain

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 June 2010

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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.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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