Generation of Pancreatic Islets from Stem Cells
Soria B., Pezzolla D., López J., Rojas A., Hmadcha A.
Diabetes mellitus is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases. Glucose homeostasis disruption occurs when β-cells fail to secrete the insulin necessary to maintain the homeostasis of glucose in the blood flow. Over time, diabetes can lead to the rise of different long-term complications, such as diabetic foot, retinopathy, neuropathy, nephropathy and arteriosclerosis. Nowadays, the only treatments for diabetes consist of exogenous insulin supply or pancreas/islet transplantation, but the inability to achieve a tight control over glucose regulation by exogenous insulin administration and the shortage of pancreatic islets donors have motivated recent efforts to develop renewable sources and protocols for effective β-cell replacement.Embryonic stem cells are non-specialized cells that share two important characteristics: self -renewal, which allows them to expand indefinitely while maintaining the undifferentiated state; and pluripotency, which is the capacity to differentiate into almost all specialized cell types. Proof-of-concept experiments demonstrate that embryonic stem cells have the ability to differentiate into insulin-producing cells, even if at a very low frequency.In this chapter, we review the attempts that have been made thus far to convert embryonic stem cells into pancreatic endocrine cell types of potential use in the treatment of type I diabetes. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.