Reprogramming mouse liver cells into precursor pancreatic cells
may offer a way forward for the treatment of type 1 diabetes in
A study from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in
Berlin, Germany shows how just by changing the expression of a
single gene, researchers were able to coax mouse liver cells to
develop into cells with pancreatic features.
Researchers reprogrammed one type of cell into another type of
cell by tweaking genes on immature liver and pancreas cells
isolated from mouse embryos.
The researchers identified the single gene as TGIF2.
When modified cells were transplanted into diabetic mice, the
animals' blood glucose levels improved, suggesting the cells were
behaving like pancreatic beta cells.
The advantages of using liver cells
Other researchers in regenerative medicine are exploring ways to
generate new populations of pancreatic beta cells.
In their study paper, researchers at the same Berlin facility
reveal research that shows pancreatic cells display a high degree
of "cellular plasticity."
But they chose instead to focus on liver cells that are more
accessible and abundant.
Access the full study