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Disease models

Dedifferentiation and restoration of islet b cells in diabetes

Diabetic mice show dedifferentiation of pancreatic islet b cells and could be used to screen compounds to restore islet b cells. In multiple mouse models of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, pancreases showed lower b cell mass but higher levels of a cells and undifferentiated b cell precursors than healthy control pancreases. Lineage-tracing studies showed that the undifferentiated cells were derived from b cells. Next steps include testing whether dedifferentiated b cells are present in human diabetes patients and screening for compounds to reverse dedifferentiation (see Resetting the clock in diabetes, page 1).

SciBX 5(38); doi:10.1038/scibx.2012.1013
Published online Sept. 27, 2012

Patent pending; available for licensing

Talchai, C. et al. Cell; published online Sept. 14, 2012;
Contact: Domenico Accili, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.