Towards a better understanding of diabetes mellitus using organoid models

Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2023 Jan 20;1-17. doi: 10.1038/s41574-022-00797-x. Online ahead of print.


Our understanding of diabetes mellitus has benefited from a combination of clinical investigations and work in model organisms and cell lines. Organoid models for a wide range of tissues are emerging as an additional tool enabling the study of diabetes mellitus. The applications for organoid models include studying human pancreatic cell development, pancreatic physiology, the response of target organs to pancreatic hormones and how glucose toxicity can affect tissues such as the blood vessels, retina, kidney and nerves. Organoids can be derived from human tissue cells or pluripotent stem cells and enable the production of human cell assemblies mimicking human organs. Many organ mimics relevant to diabetes mellitus are already available, but only a few relevant studies have been performed. We discuss the models that have been developed for the pancreas, liver, kidney, nerves and vasculature, how they complement other models, and their limitations. In addition, as diabetes mellitus is a multi-organ disease, we highlight how a merger between the organoid and bioengineering fields will provide integrative models.

Publication types

  • Review