No rebirth for insulin secreting pancreatic beta cells

Pancreatic beta cells store and release insulin, the hormone responsible for stimulating cells to convert glucose to energy. The number of beta cells in the pancreas increases in response to greater demand for insulin or injury, but it is not clear if the new beta cells are the result of cell division or the differentiation of a precursor cell, a process known as neogenesis. Knowledge of how beta cells are created and maintained is critical to understanding diseases in which these cells are lost, such as diabetes.

In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, George Gittes and colleagues at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh used a fluorescent cell labeling method in mice to determine exactly when develop into . They observed neogenesis during embryonic development, but did not find any evidence of neogenesis in adult mice.

These data demonstrate that beta cell neogenesis is not possible in adult mice. In a companion commentary, Michael German at the University of California, San Francisco, discusses the experiments that will be required to determine if these findings also apply to humans.

More information: No evidence for beta cell neogenesis in murine adult pancreas, J Clin Invest. 2013;123(5):2207–2217. doi:10.1172/JCI66323
Anonymous Sources: Where Do Adult β-Cells Come From? J Clin Invest. 2013;123(5):1936–1938. doi:10.1172/JCI69297

Related Stories

Scientists use uterine stem cells to treat diabetes

date Sep 14, 2011

Controlling diabetes may someday involve mining stem cells from the lining of the uterus, Yale School of Medicine researchers report in a new study published in the journal Molecular Therapy. The team treate ...

Recommended for you

A high-fat diet may alleviate mitochondrial disease

date 12 hours ago

Mice that have a genetic version of mitochondrial disease can easily be mistaken for much older animals by the time they are nine months old: they have thinning grey hair, osteoporosis, poor hearing, infertility, ...

Cheek muscles hold up better than leg muscles in space

date 12 hours ago

It is well known that muscles need resistance (gravity) to maintain optimal health, and when they do not have this resistance, they deteriorate. A new report published in the July 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal, however, sugges ...

Sialic acid: A key to unlocking brain disorders

date 15 hours ago

A new report published in the July 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal suggests that a common molecule found in higher animals, including humans, affects brain structure. This molecule may play a significant role in how brain ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.