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      Pancreatic endoderm derived from human embryonic stem cells generates glucose-responsive insulin-secreting cells in vivo

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          Abstract

          Development of a cell therapy for diabetes would be greatly aided by a renewable supply of human beta-cells. Here we show that pancreatic endoderm derived from human embryonic stem (hES) cells efficiently generates glucose-responsive endocrine cells after implantation into mice. Upon glucose stimulation of the implanted mice, human insulin and C-peptide are detected in sera at levels similar to those of mice transplanted with approximately 3,000 human islets. Moreover, the insulin-expressing cells generated after engraftment exhibit many properties of functional beta-cells, including expression of critical beta-cell transcription factors, appropriate processing of proinsulin and the presence of mature endocrine secretory granules. Finally, in a test of therapeutic potential, we demonstrate that implantation of hES cell-derived pancreatic endoderm protects against streptozotocin-induced hyperglycemia. Together, these data provide definitive evidence that hES cells are competent to generate glucose-responsive, insulin-secreting cells.

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          Most cited references 35

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          Production of pancreatic hormone-expressing endocrine cells from human embryonic stem cells.

          Of paramount importance for the development of cell therapies to treat diabetes is the production of sufficient numbers of pancreatic endocrine cells that function similarly to primary islets. We have developed a differentiation process that converts human embryonic stem (hES) cells to endocrine cells capable of synthesizing the pancreatic hormones insulin, glucagon, somatostatin, pancreatic polypeptide and ghrelin. This process mimics in vivo pancreatic organogenesis by directing cells through stages resembling definitive endoderm, gut-tube endoderm, pancreatic endoderm and endocrine precursor--en route to cells that express endocrine hormones. The hES cell-derived insulin-expressing cells have an insulin content approaching that of adult islets. Similar to fetal beta-cells, they release C-peptide in response to multiple secretory stimuli, but only minimally to glucose. Production of these hES cell-derived endocrine cells may represent a critical step in the development of a renewable source of cells for diabetes cell therapy.
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            Clonally derived human embryonic stem cell lines maintain pluripotency and proliferative potential for prolonged periods of culture.

            Embryonic stem (ES) cell lines derived from human blastocysts have the developmental potential to form derivatives of all three embryonic germ layers even after prolonged culture. Here we describe the clonal derivation of two human ES cell lines, H9.1 and H9.2. At the time of the clonal derivation of the H9.1 and H9.2 ES cell lines, the parental ES cell line, H9, had already been continuously cultured for 6 months. After an additional 8 months of culture, H9.1 and H9.2 ES cell lines continued to: (1) actively proliferate, (2) express high levels of telomerase, and (3) retain normal karyotypes. Telomere lengths, while somewhat variable, were maintained between 8 and 12 kb in high-passage H9.1 and H9.2 cells. High-passage H9.1 and H9.2 cells both formed teratomas in SCID-beige mice that included differentiated derivatives of all three embryonic germ layers. These results demonstrate the pluripotency of single human ES cells, the maintenance of pluripotency during an extended period of culture, and the long-term self-renewing properties of cultured human ES cells. The remarkable developmental potential, proliferative capacity, and karyotypic stability of human ES cells distinguish them from adult cells. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.
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              MafA is a key regulator of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion.

              MafA is a transcription factor that binds to the promoter in the insulin gene and has been postulated to regulate insulin transcription in response to serum glucose levels, but there is no current in vivo evidence to support this hypothesis. To analyze the role of MafA in insulin transcription and glucose homeostasis in vivo, we generated MafA-deficient mice. Here we report that MafA mutant mice display intolerance to glucose and develop diabetes mellitus. Detailed analyses revealed that glucose-, arginine-, or KCl-stimulated insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells is severely impaired, although insulin content per se is not significantly affected. MafA-deficient mice also display age-dependent pancreatic islet abnormalities. Further analysis revealed that insulin 1, insulin 2, Pdx1, Beta2, and Glut-2 transcripts are diminished in MafA-deficient mice. These results show that MafA is a key regulator of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in vivo.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Biotechnology
                Nat Biotechnol
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1087-0156
                1546-1696
                April 2008
                February 20 2008
                April 2008
                : 26
                : 4
                : 443-452
                Article
                10.1038/nbt1393
                18288110
                © 2008

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