Induction of endocrine cell differentiation: a new approach to management of diabetes

J Lab Clin Med. 1989 Jul;114(1):75-83.


Cellophane wrapping of the hamster pancreas induces a trophic stimulus that leads to ductular proliferation in association with nesidioblastosis. Our previous studies have demonstrated that cellophane wrapping of the pancreas leads to the development of a new population of beta-cells that is capable of reversing streptozocin-induced diabetes. The predominant type of islet regenerated is initially small but progressively enlarges to the size of control islets. Electron microscopy and immunocytochemistry revealed areas of nesidioblastosis that contained a predominance of beta-cells, but also alpha- and delta-cells. Metabolic studies were conducted to define the functional aspects of this model. After cellophane wrapping of the normal hamster pancreas, normal serum levels of glucose and insulin were maintained despite a 2.5-fold increase in the number of pancreatic islets per square millimeter compared with a control group that underwent a sham operation and was not wrapped. Islets were harvested from control and cellophane-wrapped pancreata and demonstrated a similar biphasic insulin response to high-dose glucose perfusion in vitro. Insulin secretion ceased with low-dose glucose perfusion. Insulin derived from unwrapped pancreata was found to comprise two peaks on high-pressure liquid chromatography and that from wrapped pancreata a single peak. The biologically active insulin corresponded on high-pressure liquid chromatography with the standard insulin preparation. Thus, the experimental induction of nesidioblastosis is associated with development of normal beta-cell sensitivity to glucose and release of a single form of a biologically active insulin. It thus represents a possible therapeutic approach to diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cell Division
  • Cellophane
  • Cricetinae
  • Female
  • Glucose / pharmacology
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Islets of Langerhans / cytology*
  • Islets of Langerhans / drug effects
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Mesocricetus
  • Pancreas / cytology
  • Pancreas / surgery*
  • Reference Values


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Cellophane
  • Glucose