Transient Suppression of TGFβ Receptor Signaling Facilitates Human Islet Transplantation

Endocrinology. 2016 Apr;157(4):1348-56. doi: 10.1210/en.2015-1986. Epub 2016 Feb 12.


Although islet transplantation is an effective treatment for severe diabetes, its broad application is greatly limited due to a shortage of donor islets. Suppression of TGFβ receptor signaling in β-cells has been shown to increase β-cell proliferation in mice, but has not been rigorously examined in humans. Here, treatment of human islets with a TGFβ receptor I inhibitor, SB-431542 (SB), significantly improved C-peptide secretion by β-cells, and significantly increased β-cell number by increasing β-cell proliferation. In addition, SB increased cell-cycle activators and decreased cell-cycle suppressors in human β-cells. Transplantation of SB-treated human islets into diabetic immune-deficient mice resulted in significant improvement in blood glucose control, significantly higher serum and graft insulin content, and significantly greater increases in β-cell proliferation in the graft, compared with controls. Thus, our data suggest that transient suppression of TGFβ receptor signaling may improve the outcome of human islet transplantation, seemingly through increasing β-cell number and function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzamides / pharmacology
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blotting, Western
  • C-Peptide / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dioxoles / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Islets of Langerhans / drug effects
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism*
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation / methods*
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, SCID
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Receptor, Transforming Growth Factor-beta Type I
  • Receptors, Transforming Growth Factor beta / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


  • 4-(5-benzo(1,3)dioxol-5-yl-4-pyridin-2-yl-1H-imidazol-2-yl)benzamide
  • Benzamides
  • Blood Glucose
  • C-Peptide
  • Dioxoles
  • Insulin
  • Receptors, Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Receptor, Transforming Growth Factor-beta Type I