Cell-Based Methods to Identify Inducers of Human Pancreatic Beta-Cell Proliferation

Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1787)


Diabetes is the result of the insufficiency or dysfunction of pancreatic beta cells alone or in combination with insulin resistance. The replacement or regeneration of beta cells can effectively reverse diabetes in humans and rodents. Therefore, the identification of novel small molecules that promote pancreatic beta-cell proliferation is an attractive approach for diabetic therapy. While numerous hormones, small molecules, and growth factors are able to drive rodent beta cells to replicate, only a few small molecules have demonstrated the ability to stimulate human beta-cell proliferation. Hence, there is an urgent need for therapeutic agents that induce regeneration and expansion of adult human beta cells. Here, we describe a detailed protocol for coating chamber slides, culturing primary islets, performing islet cell disassociation, seeding cells on chamber slides, treating islet cells with compounds or infecting them with adenovirus, immunostaining of proliferation markers and imaging, and data analysis.

Key words

Diabetes Human pancreatic beta cell Proliferation Diabetes therapeutics Human islets Drug development 



The authors thank Dr. Andrew Stewart and the members of the Stewart lab, Dr. Adolfo Garcia-Ocaña (all at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY), for invaluable and continuous insight. The authors thank the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Integrated Islet Distribution Program and Dr. Tatsuya Kin (Alberta Diabetes Institute, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) for providing human islets. This work was supported by JDRF grant 2-SRA-2015-62-Q-R; National Institutes of Health grants R-01 DK105015 and T32 GM 062754; and the Human Islet and Adenovirus Core of the Einstein-Mount Sinai Diabetes Research Center P30 DK020541-38.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA

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