RNA Sequencing of Single Human Islet Cells Reveals Type 2 Diabetes Genes

Cell Metab. 2016 Oct 11;24(4):608-615. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.08.018. Epub 2016 Sep 22.


Pancreatic islet cells are critical for maintaining normal blood glucose levels, and their malfunction underlies diabetes development and progression. We used single-cell RNA sequencing to determine the transcriptomes of 1,492 human pancreatic α, β, δ, and PP cells from non-diabetic and type 2 diabetes organ donors. We identified cell-type-specific genes and pathways as well as 245 genes with disturbed expression in type 2 diabetes. Importantly, 92% of the genes have not previously been associated with islet cell function or growth. Comparison of gene profiles in mouse and human α and β cells revealed species-specific expression. All data are available for online browsing and download and will hopefully serve as a resource for the islet research community.

Keywords: glucagon; insulin; pancreatic islet cell; pancreatic polypeptide; single-cell RNA sequencing; somatostatin; type 2 diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA / methods*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Single-Cell Analysis / methods*
  • Transcriptome / genetics