Diabetes (either type 1 or type 2) is due to insufficient functional β-cell mass. Research has, therefore, aimed to discover new ways to maintain or increase either β-cell mass or function. For this purpose, rodents have mainly been used as model systems and a large number of discoveries have been made. Meanwhile, although we have learned that rodent models represent powerful systems to model β-cell development, function and destruction, we realize that there are limitations when attempting to transfer the data to what is occurring in humans. Indeed, while human β-cells share many similarities with rodent β-cells, they also differ on a number of important parameters. In this context, developing ways to study human β-cell development, function and death represents an important challenge. This review will describe recent data on the development and use of convenient sources of human β-cells that should be useful tools to discover new ways to modulate functional β-cell mass in humans.
Keywords: GPR68; RFX6; human; pancreatic; stem cells; β-cell lines; β-cells.
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.