Pancreatic β Cell Regeneration as a Possible Therapy for Diabetes

Cell Metab. 2018 Jan 9;27(1):57-67. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2017.08.007. Epub 2017 Sep 7.


Diabetes is the result of having inadequate supply of functional insulin-producing β cells. Two possible approaches for replenishing the β cells are: (1) replacement by transplanting cadaveric islets or β cells derived from human embryonic stem cells/induced pluripotent stem cells and (2) induction of endogenous regeneration. This review focuses on endogenous regeneration, which can follow two pathways: enhanced replication of existing β cells and formation of new β cells from cells not expressing insulin, either by conversion from a differentiated cell type (transdifferentiation) or differentiation from progenitors (neogenesis). Exciting progress on both pathways suggest that regeneration may have therapeutic promise.

Keywords: diabetes; neogenesis; pancreatic beta cells; replication; transdifferentiation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus / pathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / pathology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Regeneration*


  • Biomarkers