Transplantation (A Pileggi, Section Editor)

Current Diabetes Reports

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 695-703

First online:

Making β Cells from Adult Cells Within the Pancreas

  • Philippe A. LysyAffiliated withInstitut de Recherche Expérimentale et Clinique, Pôle de Pédiatrie
  • , Gordon C. WeirAffiliated withJoslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Harvard Medical School
  • , Susan Bonner-WeirAffiliated withJoslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Harvard Medical School Email author 

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Cell therapy is currently considered as a potential therapeutic alternative to traditional treatments of diabetes. Islet and whole pancreas transplantations provided the proof-of-concept of glucose homeostasis restoration after replenishment of the deficiency of β cells responsible for the disease. Current limitations of these procedures have led to the search for strategies targeting replication of pre-existing β cells or transdifferentiation of progenitors and adult cells. These investigations revealed an unexpected plasticity towards β cells of adult cells residing in pancreatic epithelium (eg, acinar, duct, and α cells). Here we discuss recent developments in β-cell replication and β-cell transdifferentiation of adult epithelial pancreatic cells, with an emphasis on techniques with a potential for clinical translation.


Diabetes Pancreas Replication Progenitors Transdifferentiation β cells Adult cells