Current Diabetes Reports

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 695–703 | Cite as

Making β Cells from Adult Cells Within the Pancreas

  • Philippe A. Lysy
  • Gordon C. Weir
  • Susan Bonner-WeirEmail author
Transplantation (A Pileggi, Section Editor)


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 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Philippe A. Lysy declares that he has no conflict of interest. Gordon C. Weir declares that he has no conflict of interest. Susan Bonner-Weir declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philippe A. Lysy
    • 1
  • Gordon C. Weir
    • 2
  • Susan Bonner-Weir
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Institut de Recherche Expérimentale et Clinique, Pôle de PédiatrieBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Stem Cell InstituteHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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