Generation of Functional Human Pancreatic β Cells In Vitro

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Felicia W. Pagliuca, Jeffrey R. Millman, Mads Gürtler, Michael Segel, Alana Van Dervort, Jennifer Hyoje Ryu, Quinn P. Peterson, Dale Greiner, Douglas A. Melton

The generation of insulin-producing pancreatic β cells from stem cells in vitro would provide an unprecedented cell source for drug discovery and cell transplantation therapy in diabetes. However, insulin-producing cells previously generated from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) lack many functional characteristics of bona fide β cells. Here, we report a scalable differentiation protocol that can generate hundreds of millions of glucose-responsive β cells from hPSC in vitro. These stem-cell-derived β cells (SC-β) express markers found in mature β cells, flux Ca2+ in response to glucose, package insulin into secretory granules, and secrete quantities of insulin comparable to adult β cells in response to multiple sequential glucose challenges in vitro. Furthermore, these cells secrete human insulin into the serum of mice shortly after transplantation in a glucose-regulated manner, and transplantation of these cells ameliorates hyperglycemia in diabetic mice.

From: Cell