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BACKGROUND: Current therapeutic strategies for type 1 (T1DM) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) rely on increasing or substituting endogenous insulin secretion in combination with lifestyle changes. β-cell regeneration, a process whereby new β-cells arise from progenitors, self-renewal or transdifferentiation, has the potential to become a viable route to insulin self-sufficiency. Current regeneration strategies capture many of the transcriptomic and protein features of native β-cells, generating cells capable of glucose-dependent insulin secretion in vitro and alleviation of hyperglycemia in vivo. However, whether novel β-cells display appreciable heterogeneity remains poorly understood, with potential consequences for long-term functional robustness. SCOPE OF REVIEW: The review brings together crucial discoveries in the β-cell regeneration field with state-of-the-art knowledge regarding β-cell heterogeneity. Aspects that might aid production of longer-lasting and more plastic regenerated β-cells are highlighted and discussed. MAJOR CONCLUSIONS: Different β-cell regeneration approaches result in a similar outcome: glucose-sensitive, insulin-positive cells that mimic the native β-cell phenotype but which lack normal plasticity. The β-cell subpopulations identified to date expand our understanding of β-cell survival, proliferation and function, signposting the direction for future regeneration strategies. Therefore, regenerated β-cells should exhibit stimulus-dependent differences in gene and protein expression, as well as establish a functional network with different β-cells, all while coexisting with other cell types on a three-dimensional platform.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Metab

Publication Date





S49 - S59


Beta cell, Diabetes, Heterogeneity, Regenerative medicine, Stem cell, Animals, Cell Differentiation, Cell Survival, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Humans, Insulin-Secreting Cells