How to make beta cells?

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2009 Dec;21(6):727-32. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Sep 24.


Insulin-producing beta cells are lost or insufficient in diabetic patients, presenting the medical challenge for new beta cells. Currently, there are three strategies that offer promise. One involves the generation of beta cells de novo by directing the differentiation of either embryonic stem cells or induced pluripotent cells to the beta cell lineage. The second is based on the conversion of another terminally differentiated cell to beta cells in a process called reprogramming. The third approach is to promote the replication of existing beta cells either in vivo or in vitro. Significant progress is evident for each strategy, but it remains unclear which approach will ultimately prove successful.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / cytology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction