Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Penn study points to new direction for pancreas cell regeneration

Implications for diabetes, other pancreatic disorders

Replacing faulty or missing cells with new insulin-making cells has been the object of diabetes research for the last decade. Past studies in tissue culture have suggested that one type of pancreas cell could be coaxed to transform into insulin-producing islet cells.

Now, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have demonstrated that these pancreatic acinar cells do not become insulin-producing cells in an animal model. However, they did show that injured pancreatic cells readily regenerate back into healthy acinar cells, which has implications for treating cancer and inflammation of the pancreas. This study appears in the April issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The research also holds promise for new techniques for pancreas cell manipulation.

The pancreas is made up of two compartments with different functions: the islet compartment of insulin-producing beta cells and the much larger exocrine compartment composed of duct cells and acinar cells that make and deliver enzymes to the intestine for digestion. Diabetes is caused by the failure of the beta cells to make insulin, whereas pancreatic cancer usually originates from the exocrine compartment. Under certain conditions in tissue culture, acinar cells can synthesize insulin as well as amylase, a digestion enzyme.

"These findings have the potential to change the emphasis in diabetic research as far as regenerating the pancreas is concerned," says lead author Doris Stoffers, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine.

Evidence from Stoffers' group and other groups is pointing to the beta cell itself as the most promising source for generating new beta cells. The focus of research is now shifting toward the direct stimulation of islet cell growth in live animals. In contrast, once acinar cells are removed from the organism and placed into culture, they may have greater potential to change into other cell types, including beta cells. As a result, Stoffers' animal model and technical approach is currently being used by other groups in the United States, Europe, and China to determine conditions under which acinar cells can take on the features of duct cells and beta cells.

The Penn team engineered mice with a special marker that permanently and selectively labels only pancreatic acinar cells. The mice were then subjected to pancreatic injury by chemicals or surgery. The pancreas was allowed to heal or regenerate itself, and the specific acinar cell marker was followed microscopically in thin slices of pancreatic tissue. "It is very clear that the acinar and islet compartments remain separate during regeneration in a live animal," says Stoffers.

"Although our work shows that acinar cells do not contribute to the insulin-producing compartment of the pancreas in an animal model, it is possible that other strategies might be successful in generating the islet cells," says Stoffers. Ongoing research is examining whether acinar cells from the mice used in this study can be induced to make insulin in tissue culture. "The hope is that these acinar cells would continue to make insulin after being transplanted back into the mouse," says Stoffers.

Karen Kreeger | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>