The number of functionally intact beta cells in the islet organ is of decisive importance for the development, course and outcome of diabetes mellitus. Generally speaking, the total beta-cell mass reflects the balance between the renewal and loss of these cells. Assuming that virtually all forms of diabetes mellitus are characterized by an insufficient extent of beta cell replication needed to compensate for the loss or dysfunction of beta cells occurring in diabetes, elucidation of the regenerating potential in experimentally induced diabetic animal would be of interest as alternative therapy for diabetes. Here we have attempted to take a stock of different models developed in the last few years, which permit investigation of regenerative process from various angles. The review focuses on factors responsible for induction of islet neogenesis in the diabetic pancreas, ultimately leading to pancreatic regeneration and possible reversal of diabetes. On the whole the study of these models will enhance our understanding of regenerative potential of diabetic pancreas and factors necessary to trigger stem cells' population within the pancreas so as to suggest an alternative therapeutic approach for the control and/or cure of diabetes.
Copyright 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.